Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement today following news reports that three FDNY members and 9-11 first responders – Retired Lt. Howard (Howie) Bischoff and retired firefighters Robert Leaver and Daniel Heglund – passed away on Monday from 9-11 related cancers.
“My heart is with the families and friends of these three heroic men. The bravery, courage and dedication that Lt. Howard Bischoff, Robert Leaver and Daniel Heglund showed at Ground Zero during the recovery and cleanup efforts personify the best of who we are as Americans.
“While we honor these men, and mourn their loss, it is a stark reminder that 13 years later, the health effects of 9-11 are far from over, and will be with us for many years to come. Tragically, over 150 of our finest and bravest have been lost since 9-11 due to illnesses obtained at Ground Zero. More than 2,900 people have been diagnosed with cancers caused or made worse by the aftermath of the attacks, and approximately 1,350 FDNY and NYPD members are facing serious 9-11-related illnesses and have had to leave their jobs. Currently, the 9-11 Health program delivers treatment and medical care to nearly 30,000 responders and survivors who are sick literally all across the country.
“Our country has a moral responsibility to continue to stand by these men and women and their families over the coming decades as these illnesses continue to manifest themselves.”