'We should never forget these people.' Retired FDNY member advocates for first responders with 9/11 illnesses

Retired FDNY EMS Lt. William Gleason helped to establish a dedication memorial at Tobay Beach in memory of those town residents who died after helping in the rescue and recovery efforts at ground zero.

News 12 Staff

Sep 11, 2023, 3:08 AM

Updated 260 days ago


A retired FDNY member continues to advocate on behalf of his fellow first responders who got sick after the Sept. 11 attacks.
"So far, we added 44 names to the wall, and we anticipate adding many more," said retired FDNY EMS Lt. William Gleason about the 9/11 first responders' memorial that he helped to established at Tobay Beach in 2019. He did it in memory of those town residents who died from 9/11 related illnesses and complications.
Some of Gleason's close friends also died from 9/11 related illnesses.
"These are the people who answered the call and stepped forward and stepped into harm's way to save others," Gleason said.
First responders like himself helped in the rescue and recovery efforts at ground zero for several months not knowing that the air around them was toxic.
"At least every week, we continue to lose members from FDNY, NYPD and other agencies from the rescuers who went down and did their job, did their duty," Gleason said.
According to the FDNY, more than 10,000 FDNY members have at least one 9/11 related illness. Gleason himself was diagnosed with leukemia this year.
"I wish that every politician out there will do the right thing and stand up and fight for the people who are sick," he said.
Since 2005, he has advocated for emergency workers who became sick while working at ground zero.
"We should never forget these people," he added.

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