Monday, September 11, 2017

September 11, 2017 -- I Remember Capt. Daniel J. Brethel

In my continued participation in Project 2,996, a tribute to the 2,996 innocent victims of 9/11, where bloggers eulogize each victim, today I remember Capt. Daniel J. Brethel.  Previously, I have remembered Pamela ChuDonald H. GregorySteven Harris Russin, Lt. Col. Jerry Don Dickerson Jr.Mary Lenz WiemanMark Francis BroderickCapt. Patrick J, BrownHagay ShefiAlison Marie Wildman, Daniel Thomas Afflitto, and Donna Bernaerts-Kearns. Please visit my tributes to them as well today, as they deserve to be remembered too. 

FDNY Captain Daniel J. Brethel, of Ladder 24, was living his dreams.  He was a firefighter.  Something he had always wanted to be growing up on East Meadow, Long Island.  His brother remembers him as a 4 year old with a red firefighter hat and playing with firetrucks on Christmas Morning,  He would listen to his emergency scanner and often beat firetrucks to the scene on his bicycle.  At age 18, Daniel joined the East Meadow Fire department as a volunteer. At age 21, he joined the FDNY and asked to be placed in the City's busiest area, the South Bronx.  It was said that he had two families:  his wife and daughters who where his life, and his FDNY family.  

Capt. Brethel was supposed to be finishing his shift on September 11.  But like the hero firefighter he was, he accompanied his ladder company to the World Trade Center that day.  It is believed that Capt. Brethel died while trying to save a fellow firefighter by pulling him under a firetruck.  They were both crushed.  That sense of sacrifice was not unusual for Capt. BREthel, who earlier in his career was severely burned on his neck and ears after taking off his helmet to save a fellow firefighter until medical personal arrived.

Usually I chose the person I eulogise randomly, from a list maintained by the Project 2,996 website.  A few times I have selected  a name that I wanted to remember, such as Steven Russin, who lived on my street, and for whom the Town of Marlboro named my street for (much like the town of East Meadow did for Capt. Brethel.  However, this time I purposely picked a firefighter to remember.  New York's Fire Department lost 349 members on 9/11  An additional 159 have died since from 9/11 cancers, including 32 members who were recently added to the Fire Department Memorial.  It is for this reason that we need to make the Zydroga Act permanent.  We need to expand it to all persons who were at, near and around Ground Zero on that day, and the following days,weeks and months.  Our firefighters sacrificed their lives, and those that survived are still sacrificing their lives without proper medical treatment.  

I have helped victims file their claims with the victims compensation fund.  However, many more have not filed, and many more do not know that they have become eligible to file for health care and health services, because the laws have changed, and more cancers and other diseases have been added.  Please, if you or someone you know was there, or around the site, please file.  There are bar associations and pro bono clinics that will help you if you can't do it yourself.  


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