As she struggled to maintain her composure, Janet Remouns recalled the memories of her husband coming home each day “covered in white powder.” George Remouns was an NYPD detective who spent weeks working at Ground Zero. There was no way for Janet to have known that this “powder” would be the cause of her husband’s terminal tonsil cancer.
The events of September 11th, regarded as the worst attack on American soil, resulted in what attorney, Christopher Baione, calls as “an unprecedented environmental disaster.” Responders, like George, spent weeks combing through the charred rubble for bodies, not knowing that the air they were breathing was polluted by toxic chemicals.
Christopher and Matthew Baione represent people affected by 9/11 and help them file for awards from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund – or VCF. The VCF was created under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act back in 2011. The act allocated $7.37 billion to the VCF, but the deadline to file claims is fast approaching and will close in December 2020.
A proposed bill, the “Never Forget the Heroes Act,” would extend and fully fund the VCF through 2090. It passed the House on Friday but has yet to be voted on by the Senate.
“[These responders] don’t care about their name being on the wall, about the glory, or about the politicians thanking them,” said Matthew Baione. “They care about ‘Will my seventeen-year-old be able to go to college?’ or ‘Will my wife survive with me dead?’.”