9/11 first responders honored but want more

June 5, 2010 4:31:47 PM PDT
First responders to the 9/11 attacks were honored today but are looking for a little more.

Retired firefighter George Bachmann is a World Trade Center survivor and was a first responder on that terrible day, who was pulled from the rubble but can now say he's doing better and better.

"I'm on my way to recovery and i'm feeling good about life again, and i'm just praying that the families try to heal," said Bachmann.

It has not been easy, and for many of the first responders like Jim LaPenna, health problems and emotional trauma are part of every day life. "It's scary. I have three sons and it's not about me, but I just wanna know that they're gonna be ok, because I'm their dad," he said.

The city designated World Trade Center responder day as a way of honoring the workers, but some like Jim, fear they are being forgotten. He says he goes for counseling two to five times per month, and now, because of a struggle for proper funding that program will end.

The city's 9/11 mental health program serves about 4,500 New Yorkers, and some, don't qualify for other programs. Responders say, it's all the more reason to get more permanent help, from Washington.

Members of the congressional delegation from New York are still fighting for a new law to create permanent health care and monitoring.

"As one responder said to me, 'Don't give me another award, don't call me a hero, just give me my health care'. They need it," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney.

As they depend right now on a patchwork of programs, they say a day of honor is nice, but what they need is a future they can count on.


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