Though not the first time, NYS Senator Greg Ball is urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill into law that would allow children of firefighters who died because of 9-11, Ground Zero related illnesses to earn legacy points that would allow them a better chance of serving in the New York Fire Department.
Ball (R-Patterson) is encouraging residents to sign a petition he started to push Cuomo to change the existing law, which currently states that children whose parents died in the “line of duty” are granted those legacy points. Those points can be the difference as to whether possible candidates get a job with the FDNY, according to a release from Ball’s office.
The bill that Ball wants signed into law would clarify “killed in the line of duty” to include deaths that were natural or the proximate result of either the attack of 9-11, or participation in the rescue effort that was conducted in response to the 9-11 attacks.
“September 11th is an extremely emotional time of year for these children that lost their parents and our heroes. We lost so many brave souls on 9-11 and we still reel from those senseless murders by gutless cowards. What some do not know is that many of those brave enough to respond and blessed enough to survive on 9-11 are suffering and dying from ailments connected to their time spent at and around Ground Zero. Many sucked in a ‘witches brew’ of poisons destroying their bodies. We must honor their sacrifice by giving their children the same opportunity we currently give to children of EMT’s and siblings of police officers and firefighters who were killed the day of,” Ball stated in the release. “I am urging everyone to sign this petition to send a strong message to Governor Cuomo that we want this piece of legislation signed into law to honor those that have given so much for us.”
One of the children hoping to earn those legacy points, is John Sullivan Jr. who lost his father in 2010 from what he said was a 9-11 related illness. Sullivan said he delayed applying to be apart of the FDNY because he wasn’t sure that’s what he wanted to do, but when his father died he was motivated to follow in his footsteps.
He also said he can’t understand why Cuomo wouldn’t be willing to sign the bill in law, noting that Cuomo was able to follow his father, former NY Governor Mario Cuomo into office.
“When my dad died, I saw the tremendous support and (the FDNY) is family and we’re a brotherhood,” Sullivan said. “With him being sick and passing away, it just made me fall in love with it.”
Sullivan also pointed out that the new law would not give preferential treatment, because the point system is already in place in FDNY.
Jimmy Tancredi, who’s father Vincent died in 2008 from a 9-11 illness said he believes there has been an oversight, and that eventually this law will be put into place. He said it was a “rude awakening” when the department sent him a letter telling him he no longer qualified for the legacy points.
Tancredi, of Orange County, noted how frustrating the process has been waiting for Cuomo to sign the bill.
“I really want to become a New York City Firefighter,” Tancredi said. “It’s my dream now.”