Joseph Zadroga, Who Championed 9/11 Emergency Workers, Dies at 76

Joseph C. Zadroga, whose lobbying helped ship health advantages to hundreds of emergency staff whose health was impaired by inhaling mud and particles at floor zero after the 2001 terrorist assault on the World Trade Center — though his efforts got here too late for his personal son, a New York City detective — died on Saturday after being hit by a automobile in Pomona, N.J. He was 76.

His demise was confirmed by his son Joseph F. Zadroga.

Early Saturday afternoon, the elder Mr. Zadroga was visiting his spouse at the Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation. According to the Galloway Township police, he was standing outdoors his parked automobile when he was struck by an SUV that apparently accelerated unintentionally and pinned him underneath it. He was pronounced useless at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center.

A retired North Arlington, N.J., police chief, Mr. Zadroga was instrumental within the passage by Congress in 2010 of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which offers federal medical advantages, together with monitoring and remedy, to law enforcement officials, firefighters and emergency medical staff who turned unwell because of their publicity to the contaminants within the aftermath of the 2001 devastation in Lower Manhattan. Mr. Zadroga and others efficiently pushed Congress to reauthorize the laws in 2015.

The demise of his son James was the primary demise of a public worker that was formally linked by an post-mortem to time spent by an emergency employee at floor zero.

James Zadroga died in 2006, at 34, after spending some 500 hours engaged in restoration efforts at what turned often known as the Pile. By the next May, after sifting the rubble for human stays, staff had eliminated 1.8 million tons of tangled wreckage. He ultimately certified for incapacity pension advantages and obtained a one-time cost to cowl misplaced revenue from the federal government compensation fund that expired in 2003.

His demise got here a yr after his spouse, Rhonda, died of a coronary heart assault, which left him to boost their 4-year-old daughter, Tyler Ann. She was orphaned when he died bringing her a baby bottle, and he or she was introduced up by his dad and mom, his brother and his sister-in-law.

“I just want everybody out there, the victims who got sick, to have the health care that they deserve, because Jimmy didn’t get it,” Joseph Zadroga stated at a rally in 2014.

Patrick Hendry, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, New York City’s largest law enforcement officials’ union, stated in a press release: “Joseph Zadroga took on a fight that no father should have to face. But he fought for his hero son with incredible courage and helped every single 9/11 responder in the process.”

After his son died, Mr. Zadroga was invited by Representative Carolyn Maloney, a Manhattan Democrat, to testify earlier than Congress, and he helped mount a nationwide marketing campaign for the health care laws that was supported by the comic and discuss present host Jon Stewart and different celebrities.

In his testimony, Ms. Zadroga quoted from a letter written by his son: “Everyone praises the dead as heroes, as they should, but there are more living suffering than dead.”

The Ocean County coroner had initially discovered that James Zadroga died of “respiratory failure” ensuing from a “history of exposure to toxic fumes and dusts.”

But a couple of yr and a half later, New York City’s chief health worker, Charles S. Hirsch, concluded that the particles in his lungs had been from the abuse of pharmaceuticals. (His household stated that if he had taken painkillers, it was as a result of he discovered it more and more painful to breathe.) A 3rd opinion, by Dr. Michael Baden, who had been town’s chief health worker within the late 1970s, supported the coroner’s authentic discovering.

The conflicting opinions entangled Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who endorsed Dr. Hirsch’s conclusion and stated: “We wanted to have a hero, and there are plenty of heroes. It’s just in this case, science says this was not a hero.” The mayor later apologized, saying, “I believe that James Zadroga was a hero for the way he lived, regardless of the way that he died.”

James Zadroga isn’t listed on the 9/11 memorial.

Joseph Charles Zadroga was born on April 2, 1947, in Newark. His father, Charles, labored for RCA. His mom, Ann (Czyc) Zadroga, ran the family.

After graduating from North Arlington High School, Joseph earned a bachelor’s diploma in felony justice from William Paterson College (now William Paterson University) in Wayne, N.J., and a grasp’s in emergency administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He served within the Army in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968.

In addition to his spouse, Linda (Baczewski) Zadroga, and his son, Mr. Zadroga is survived by his sister, Paula Bates, and two grandchildren.

Joseph Zadroga labored for the North Arlington Police Department from 1970 till 1997, when he retired as chief. He later taught at the Bergen County Police Academy. Tattooed on his forearm had been a crucifix, his son’s identify and the phrases “Not Forgotten.”

“Joe turned his son’s tragedy into something that really helped so many people,” Michael Barasch, who was James Zadroga’s lawyer, informed, including that James “didn’t die in vain, because of the autopsy his parents ordered.”

“Without that,” he stated, “we would have never had the evidence to get Congress to act.”

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