NESCONSET, Long Island (WABC) — More people have now died of 9/11-related illnesses than on that day itself.
Saturday on Long Island, more than 300 names were etched forever on a memorial wall. The 9/11 Responders Remembered Memorial Park in Nesconset commemorates not just emergency responders but also everything from auto mechanics to architects and people who participated in the massive months-long recovery at Ground Zero – and paid with their lives, years later after they got sick.
There are now nearly 3,000 names engraved on three walls there. So many that organizer John Feal is running out of space.
“We need to raise money for two new walls because people are dying faster and we can’t keep up,” Feal says.
Donations can be made through Feal’s ‘FealGood Foundation’ by clicking HERE.
Saturday’s memorial service had special meaning for Eyewitness News because one of the names added belonged to Todd Pierce, an extraordinary and beloved photojournalist here at Channel 7.
He spent weeks, even months at the pile, documenting the emergency and subsequent recovery. 20 years later, he felt pain in his back and shoulder. It was an invasive 9/11 cancer.
We lost him earlier this year.
WATCH | Eyewitness News remembers Todd Pierce
Todd’s wife, Shelley, was there to see his name unveiled on the Long Island memorial.
“It touches my heart, but it makes it all the more real to see his name etched in that stone with all these other responders. It’s poignant, it’s heartbreaking, it’s an honor – and I’m proud. I think most of all I’m proud of him. He loved his job. He loved being the eyes of the viewers at home and because of him we got to see history unfold, and I think that’s quite a legacy” she said.
Todd was deeply committed to his craft. He was a role model, he was a comedian, he was the best friend you could find.
We here at Eyewitness News think about Shelly and their daughter, Sarah all the time — and we miss Todd every day.
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