The Dix Hills Fire Department is raising money for a nearly 20-year veteran of its volunteer force who has been diagnosed with a cancer officials said was linked to his work at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11.
Lt. John Vierling retired from the NYPD in 2003 after 20 years of service, including work as a first responder who spent three months at “the pile” after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Department officials said Vierling was diagnosed in November with a rare and untreatable form of liver cancer.
“This has placed a huge burden physically, emotionally and financially not only to him but his family as well,” department Chief Robert D. Fling Jr. wrote in an email announcing fundraising efforts.
Fling asked that those interested in helping donate through a GoFundMe account or by directly donating to the Dix Hills Fire Department Benevolent Fund at 115 E.t Deer Park Rd. in Dix Hills.
On Dec. 18, Congress renewed the Zadroga Act, an $8.1 billion bill that gives permanent health care coverage to firefighters, police, residents and workers who lived and worked at Ground Zero.
The act was initially signed into law in 2011 with language to provide health coverage for first responders through at least 2015.
Advocates fought for years to ensure the bill was passed permanently. According to the FealGood first-responders foundation, 1,700 people have died from illnesses related to 9/11.