Health & Beauty

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

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Joseph C. Zadroga, whose lobbying helped ship well being advantages to hundreds of emergency staff whose well being was impaired by inhaling mud and particles at floor zero after the 2001 terrorist assault on the World Commerce Heart — though his efforts got here too late for his personal son, a New York Metropolis detective — died on Saturday after being hit by a automotive 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 on the Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation. In line with the Galloway Township police, he was standing outdoors his parked automotive when he was struck by an SUV that apparently accelerated by chance and pinned him below it. He was pronounced useless at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Heart.

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 Well being and Compensation Act, which supplies federal medical advantages, together with monitoring and remedy, to law enforcement officials, firefighters and emergency medical staff who grew to become unwell on account of their publicity to the contaminants within the aftermath of the 2001 devastation in Decrease 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 grew to become generally known as the Pile. By the next Could, after sifting the rubble for human stays, staff had eliminated 1.8 million tons of tangled wreckage. He finally certified for incapacity pension advantages.

His demise got here a 12 months after his spouse, Rhonda, died of a coronary heart assault, which left him to lift their 4-year-old daughter, Tyler Ann. She was orphaned when he died bringing her a child bottle, and he or she was introduced up by his mother and father, his brother and his sister-in-law.

“I simply need all people on the market, the victims who obtained sick, to have the well being care that they deserve, as a result of Jimmy didn’t get it,” Joseph Zadroga mentioned at a rally in 2014.

Patrick Hendry, the president of the Police Benevolent Affiliation, New York Metropolis’s largest law enforcement officials’ union, mentioned in an announcement: “Joseph Zadroga took on a battle that no father ought to need to face. However he fought for his hero son with unimaginable braveness and helped each single 9/11 responder within the course of.”

After his son died, Mr. Zadroga was invited by Consultant Carolyn Maloney, a Manhattan Democrat, to testify earlier than Congress, and he helped mount a nationwide marketing campaign for the well being 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: “Everybody praises the useless as heroes, as they need to, however there are extra dwelling struggling than useless.”

The Ocean County coroner had initially discovered that James Zadroga died of “respiratory failure” ensuing from a “historical past of publicity to poisonous fumes and dusts.”

However a couple of 12 months and a half later, New York Metropolis’s chief medical expert, Charles S. Hirsch, concluded that the particles in his lungs had been from the abuse of prescribed drugs. (His household mentioned 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 the town’s chief medical expert within the late Nineteen Seventies, supported the coroner’s authentic discovering.

The conflicting opinions entangled Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who endorsed Dr. Hirsch’s conclusion and mentioned: “We needed to have a hero, and there are many heroes. It’s simply on this case, science says this was not a hero.” The mayor later apologized, saying, “I consider that James Zadroga was a hero for the way in which he lived, whatever the method 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 Excessive Faculty, Joseph earned a bachelor’s diploma in felony justice from William Paterson Faculty (now William Paterson College) in Wayne, N.J., and a grasp’s in emergency administration from Fairleigh Dickinson College. He served within the Military in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968.

Along with 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 Division from 1970 till 1997, when he retired as chief. He later taught on the Bergen County Police Academy. Tattooed on his forearm had been a crucifix, his son’s title and the phrases “Not Forgotten.”

“Joe turned his son’s tragedy into one thing that basically helped so many individuals,” Michael Barasch, who was James Zadroga’s lawyer, instructed, including that James “didn’t die in useless, due to the post-mortem his mother and father ordered.”

“With out that,” he mentioned, “we might have by no means had the proof to get Congress to behave.”