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Hampstead man happy about Ground Zero worker bill

READ MORE: Hampstead man happy about Ground Zero worker bill

HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) -- Congress has been busy the last couple weeks before their holiday break tying to get as much passed as they could during the lame-duck session. One of their final votes will mean help for Ground Zero workers, including a Hampstead man.

Earlier this month we introduced you to Richard Dambakly. He was one of the first people to respond to the World Trade Center collapse on 9/11. He is happy Congress finally passed a bill to help people like him.

The events of September 11, 2001, are a defining moment in American history. The lives of those who responded to the disaster were forever changed, and some must live with a daily reminder of what they lost. Dambakly is one of those people.

He was there when the first plane flew into the World Trade Center until four months later when he found out he had cancer.

"To get cancer and then get the 'World Trade Center Cough' and everyone was getting sick, at that point, I didn't know if I was going to live or if I was going to die," Dambakly said.

Dambakly, who now lives in Hampstead, developed B-cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, while working for Verizon at Ground Zero. He was not included in the first bill passed by Congress to cover workers affected during the clean up, and he says he's not the only one.

He hopes the bill Congress passed late Wednesday will include those who were left out.

"They need to cover everyone. They need to cover everyone that worked down there," he said. "We went down there, we did what we had to do, now we need to be covered. Period."

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act creates a $4.2 billion spending package to help the sick. Although it's a couple billion dollars less than the original amount proposed, Dambakly says it's a step in the right direction.

"Right now, we're just hoping that they move it along, 'cause there's a lot of work to do still ahead, 'cause I don't wanna take it lightly and say the bill is passed, now we're done. It's not that easy," Dambakly said.

Dambakly said for his family and others who have been impacted, this means the world.

"What does it mean for my family? It's me being here and always being here as long as I possibly can," he said.

Dambakly's cancer is in remission, but he finds security in knowing that if he is affected again, he may have the support of the new bill.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


True colors

It's nice to see the poor economy has people's true colors showing. All of a sudden if your tax dollars go to help others it's a problem, no matter how deserving. There are plenty of good reasons for this bill not to pass, but saying the workers at ground zero do not deserve it is certainly not one of them. When the next disaster happens it would be refreshing to see the police/fire/ems/military just say its not worth it to them and their family to take the risk, and stay home. Unfortunately that will never happen since these folks care for others and will be continued to be taken for granted by the trash of our society.


It seems that every emergency services person within 5 miles of ground zero is trying to cash in. I know a former firefighter that claims to be disabled from 9/11 with lung damage, but he is and has been for many years a cigarette smoker. As a matter of fact, he is so disabled that he moved to NC, completed Basic Law Enforcement Training and is now a police officer. His disability didn't stop him from the physical fitness requirements to complete BLET.
What a ripoff.

With any aid, there are

With any aid, there are going to be lowlifes that abuse it. To me that not a reason to deny help to the folks that need and deserve it.

Some of you morons crying

Some of you morons crying about taxpayers footing the bill for this should be ashamed of yourselves.

Our country was attacked and these folks responded. Should all firefighters and LEOs expect coverage above and beyond what is provided to them when they go on calls? No. But this event was different - it impacted all our lives as Americans.

I am a card carrying conservative, but once the matter of how the bill should be paid for was adjusted, it needed to be passed and was.


you get free stuff from the tax payers!!! YAY YOU!

The workers at ground zero

The workers at ground zero were doing what they were paid to do. Emergency workers assume the dangers of their profession. Most of us rely on health insurance and disability to get them through rough times after injury or illness that is job-related. Though I truly respect emergency workers, (I am an ex-police officer)I do not feel that they are entitled to special treatment at taxpayer expense (if this is where the funding is coming from) when other options are available that everyone else must use in a similar situation.


Wow. Suck it up first responders. You knew what you were getting yourselves into. I'm shocked some one could have such an attitude. Maybe you could spend your time visiting the families of the first responders and military that lost family members from this event. After all, they knew the risks and were paid for their service. Some one needs to go around and tell them they need to get over it, right? That's pathetic. I hope the people sharing this opinion are very few.

Free Stuff From Taxpayer?

Free Stuff From Taxpayer? They Workers At Ground Zero Were Paid For Their Work? Both of those comments make it obvious that their writers do not have the slightest idea what they are talking about and both had ZERO exposure to the WTC disaster. These first responders are not "cashing in on this" at the cost of America, as a matter of fact, the amount of money that they could possibly collect is just a small percentage of what would normally be collected in a lawsuit for the very same injuries. For the "retired police officer" above, if your job gave you a gun that didnt work and you were seriously injured because of it I guess you would just say "that's ok, I have me health benefits or my pension and thats it i'm fine"? Oh wait, maybe your it would be your wife and children saying that after they watched their husband/dad die of a slow painful death that was caused by the infection and illness that set in after the serious injury. Where am i getting the broken gun anaology from ... if you dont know then your really have no business commenting EVER on 911 and you should not even say the word. In the first days after the disaster we (as in we at wtc and we the entire country) were told that the air was not dangerous by the government. A mistake was made (i am not going to be a conspiracist here) so at the least, the bill is an attempt to correct that. And your "getting things free". Its not "free" as i yea i have "free healthcare" and tons of money you dope. Its healthcare coverage for illnesses and injuries that are related to wtc. And its some money for the injury. Its not millions and millions and millions of dollars. For the wife and child that saw their father/husband trudge through the disaster site and then die or be permanently injured, it will bring very little to nothing in comparison to what they lost. But then again, their husband/father will live on in their memory as someone who stepped up and thankfully, commenters like this will not remember them because they do not deserve to.