Naming the Never Forget the Heroes Act: Who Were James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez?

September 6, 2019
HomeBlogNaming the Never Forget the Heroes Act: Who Were James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez?

On July 8, 2019, the lead sponsors of the Never Forget the Heroes Act, which would eventually be passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Trump, announced that the full name of the bill would be the “Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.”

Like many pieces of federal legislation, the bill is named in honor of a person with a close connection to it, such as a champion who fought for its passage or a victim whose misfortune could have been prevented by it. This bill is named for three 9/11 rescue and recovery workers who ultimately succumbed to 9/11-related illnesses after a long battle with the federal government to secure compensation for others like them.

For more information about receiving compensation from the Never Forget the Heroes Act, please contact a 911 fund lawyer.

Who Were They?

James Zadroga

James Zadroga, for whom the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 and the Zadroga Reauthorization Act of 2015 are also named, was a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer. He joined the NYPD in 1991 and later achieved the rank of detective.

After 9/11, he spent hundreds of hours engaged in recovery efforts at Ground Zero, where he was exposed to toxic dust. Several months later, he began experiencing flu-like symptoms and what doctors called the “World Trade Center cough.” He passed away at the age of 34 in 2006 and is believed to be the first rescue worker to die from inhaling dust from Ground Zero.

Ray Pfeifer

Ray Pfeifer was a New York City Fire Department (FDNY) officer from 1987 to 2014 and was assigned to Engine 40/Ladder 35 in Manhattan. On the morning of September 11, 2001, he was golfing with several other FDNY officers. When he learned of the attacks, he rushed to Lower Manhattan to assist with rescue and recovery efforts and spent the next eight months searching through the rubble at Ground Zero.

In 2009, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer as a direct result of his work there. As federal benefits for 9/11 first responders was set to expire in 2016, he and a cadre of supporters travelled to Washington, DC to lobby Congress to pass the Zadroga Reauthorization Act of 2015 — an effort which proved successful. He passed away on May 28, 2017.

Luis Alvarez

Luis Alvarez was an NYPD detective who joined the force in 1990 and who spent three months working on rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks. He is perhaps most well-known for the impassioned speech that he delivered alongside comedian Jon Stewart before the House Judiciary subcommittee in June of this year in support of the Never Forget the Heroes Act.

In it, he pled the cause of 9/11 first responders suffering from 9/11-related illnesses, warning the committee that “I’m going to make sure that you never forget to take care of the 9/11 responders.” While Alvarez’s efforts were ultimately successful, he sadly passed away from complications of colorectal cancer on June 29, 2019, exactly one month to the day before the bill was signed into law.

Contact a 911 Fund Lawyer Today

For more information about the bill that bears these heroes’ names, including how to file a claim, please contact a 911 fund lawyer at Pitta & Baione by using our online contact form or by calling us at 844-982-2667.