The 9/11 First Responders Bill Touches Lives in Indiana

By Max Resnik

December 23, 2010 Updated Dec 23, 2010 at 7:15 PM EDT

LEO, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) With the passage of The 9/11 First Responders Bill, heroic men and women who tore through debris and carnage to search for life will receive health benefits for illnesses they received as the result of their actions.

One Leo man, John Hamrick, arrived at Ground Zero before the sun rose on September 12th. Hamrick, as if it were yesterday, can describe scenes to horrific for imagination and to do difficult to believe.

An American hero in the Fort Wayne area, Hamrick says it’s about time that the government has come through for the thousands of men and women who gave up weeks and months of their lives cleaning up the destruction left by the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
In addition to time lost, first responders and volunteers have incurred countless illnesses; many of them respiratory related issues from inhaling what some consider toxic air.

Hamrick spent about a week in New York working with other American heroes attempting to restore some semblance of life at Ground Zero. Hamrick says even though his stay was relatively short, he felt the affects on his health for a couple of years. He is fortunate enough not to require the benefits of yesterday’s legislation, but knows there are hundreds who require them.

Hamrick says time in therapy was crucial for him. The chance to explain the things he encountered has paid dividends for him, and it is his hope that the government understands that responders need more than physical help. It is his hope that awareness of stress and trauma as the result of working to clean up Ground Zero is heavily emphasized in this bill.

It took nearly 10 years for a bill of this kind to be realized by Congress. Hamrick says, “Early into the events they realized the exposures. For it to take almost 10 years to step up and do something is a long time. There's a lot of people that probably needed this aid six months after 9/11.”

They can now receive this aid.

Hamrick, like many who have thrust themselves into tragedy, sees 9/11 as a life altering experience. His organization, Team R&R heads around the country to disaster areas saving lives and property. Click Team R&R for an in-depth look at John Hamrick’s story including an account of the events and photos of Ground Zero.

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