An Urgent Call to Remember and Save our First Responders

November 3, 2014 · Filed Under 9/11 · Comment 

(Note: My thanks to Donald Mihalek of Lower Makefield, the Legislative Director of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, for the information he shared about Arnie Roma in articles written for The Bucks County Courier Times Newspaper and Tactical- Life – both published on 9/11, 2014.)

9/11, 2014, has come and gone, along with our many beautiful remembrances. This year, I had the honor of speaking at the Candlelight Remembrance Ceremony at the Garden of Reflection (the designated official 9/11 Memorial site for Pennsylvania). I was invited to offer words of inspiration for the family members and friends of those who died in the World Trade Center, including the first responders- and for those who came to remember everyone who had perished on 9/11. That evening, Arnie Roma, a first responder, shared the heartbreaking story of his own 9/11 experience, the loss of his son, Keith, (also a first responder), his present health situation and the real possibility of losing his health insurance.

first responders

Susan with Arnie & Rosemary Roma

Retired from the NYPD after twenty years “on the job,” Arnie Roma now serves as a volunteer fireman in Yardley-Makefield and Penndel, PA. On 9/11, in 2001, while working as a registered nurse, Arnie received a call from his youngest son, Keith, a firefighter. Keith told him to grab his gear and get over to the World Trade Center because a plane had hit the North Tower and his help was needed! That conversation was the last that Arnie ever had with his son. Arnie was sent to the South Tower, shortly after it had been struck, to care for the wounded. Within moments, the South Tower collapsed on him. He was miraculously saved. Unfortunately, Keith, who had been rescuing many from the North Tower, did not survive that Tower’s collapse. Arnie continued to work at Ground Zero and to search for his son. On Christmas Eve, Keith’s body was recovered – along with those he had been rescuing when the North Tower collapsed. Arnie continued to clear “the pile” at Ground Zero until there was nothing left to clear.

Like so many of the other first responders, Arnie is now very ill. He has severe anemia (a precursor to blood disorders), severe asthma, COPD and PTSD. Arnie also can’t sleep past three a.m. According to Donald Mihalek, It has been reported that more than 2500 first responders now have cancer. This figure is predicted to double within this year.

Arnie and the first responders need our help. Until now his health issues have been treated by the World Trade Center Health Program, which has been authorized by the 9/11 James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act of 2010. The problem is that Arnie’s healthcare and that of the other first responders will be cut off if this Act is not reauthorized in 2016.



Susan, Ellen Saracini & Rosemary Roma

So many of us know someone who either died in the 9/11 event or had been saved by a first responder. We vowed we would never forget these souls who risked their lives for others. You can help to honor and give back to these courageous men and women by making it a point, today, to contact your congressmen (and women) and senators, and urge the reauthorization of the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act. Arnie’s family has already lost one of their two sons. They should not have to lose Arnie, as well. It is now our turn – our responsibility – to take action and help these extraordinary and brave souls. Furthermore, make it your intention to remember our first responders every day- rather than only on 9/11!

On a personal note, I have had the pleasure of speaking and being with Arnie and his wife, Rosemary. Their warmth, kindness, compassion and down- to- earth manner touched my heart. They have given much to humanity. We need to find it in our hearts to do our best to give back to them!

For more information, please check out the links below.

Bucks County Courier

Tactical Life With Video

YouTube Video

With gratitude, appreciation, and blessings of peace and love,

~Susan Barbara Apollon
©2014 & Beyond

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