A Tribute To John Feal
by Jon Gold
April 1, 2009
Yesterday, John Feal, along with several other 9/11 First Responders went down to Washington D.C. to attend the hearing on the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation Act. From what I understand, he was singled out by the Congressmen, and applauded for his efforts. I want to say congratulations John. Just to give people an idea of how much you’ve fought for the responders, here’s a little tribute to you (that barely covers your fight). Thank you for doing the right thing. I am very proud to say that you are my friend.
The EPA is a “bunch of brainiacs and bookworms who just look at numbers but don’t look at people’s pain,” said John Feal, a construction worker who lost half a foot in an accident while working in “the pit” at Ground Zero. “The people [downtown] and in Brooklyn pay taxes and deserve to know their tax money is going to protect their health.”
John Feal – [NYMetro, 12/13/2005]
John Feal, Valenti’s friend and the founder of the Feal Good Foundation, an advocacy group for 9/11 first responders suffering from ground zero-related illnesses, called the workers’ compensation ruling encouraging, but added that more must be done to help those who have gotten sick. “Individually, that’s great,” said Feal, a demolition supervisor who lost part of his foot when it was crushed by an eight-ton beam during the recovery effort at ground zero. “What stinks is that so many others in his position that have 9/11 illnesses still have problems getting [their compensation], or may never get theirs. Vito won a battle, but it’s still a long war.”
John Feal – [lilherald.com, 2/8/2007]
Feal said after he felt sorry for himself for about a year; then, after he realized other responders were worse off, he decided to create the FealGood Foundation. “People are suffering and dying and there is nothing I can do to save Joe Picurro and Father Stephen, but I can help ease the pain,” he said.
Feal believes the recent $25 million pledge by President Bush to help rescue workers who have been sickened from the site is “political bread crumbs.”
“They shouldn’t have to suffer because the federal government remains idle,” he said, adding, “And the lack of compassion that has trickled down from our leaders has become a snowball in society where 9/11 responders are being forgotten.”
John Feal – [ocobserver.com, 2/11/2007]
Feal’s foot was crushed from falling metal.
“I ended up getting wedged in and buried beneath the ground,” Feal said.
John Feal – [wcbstv.com, 2/16/2007]
A letter between myself and Susan Edelman from the NYPost on 2/19/2007.
Thanks so much for your kind note. I care very much about the WTC workers and hope that those sickened by their contribution get the care and financial help they desperately need.
John Feal has been a great ally.
Keep in touch.
“We’re not the little boys crying wolf anymore. It’s a ‘told you so.’ This whole time we weren’t just running around saying we’re sick. We now have legitimate proof,” said Long Island resident John Feal. “But the fact that it took five years is insulting. The federal government’s lack of compassion in helping heroes is insulting.”
Feal, who heads the not-for-profit Feal Good Foundation to call attention to the issue, is hoping this development helps the thousands of ongoing cases brought by rescue and construction workers against the city.
John Feal – [silive.com, 5/24/2007]
“I applaud the medical examiner for making this direct link, but its six years late and we need more doctors to come forward and say these brave souls are sick because of the aftermath of 9-11,” responder John Feal said.
John Feal – [wcbstv.com, 5/28/2007]
John Feal on DemocracyNow 6/21/2007
Feal, 40, of Nesconset, briefly watched Whitman’s testimony before becoming agitated by her “excuses.” “There’s not a word that comes out of her mouth that I believe,” Feal said.
Feal was a demolition supervisor at Ground Zero from Sept. 12 to Sept. 17, 2001, when a steel beam fell on his left foot, and doctors had to amputate half of it, he said. He now runs the FeelGood Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group for 9/11 responders.
John Feal – [Newsday, 6/25/2007]
John Feal, creator of the FealGood Foundation, is the mastermind behind the First Responders Concert.
Feal was a construction worker who began demolition at the World Trade Center site on September 12. On September 17, an 8,000-pound steal beam fell on and crushed his left foot. He was hospitalized for 11 weeks and lost his foot.
“For a year, I was depressed and suicidal,” like many others who were injured at Ground Zero, Feal, explained. He tried to get worker’s comp and appealed to the 9/11 relief fund, but he was turned down.
In 2003, he decided, “To stop feeling sorry for [him]self,” and devoted his life to making sure that 9/11 victims and their families received the care that they desperately need.
“It’s time for people to help each other,” said Feal, who will also be donating a kidney to a man he met through his organization. “As a country, we took one on the chin and moved forward,” he explained, “but we cannot forget who we left behind.”
The FealGood Foundation, a non-profit organization Feal created to educate the public about the health effects of 9/11 First Responders, and gives 100 percent of their donations to First Responders to victims and their families, was born out of that determination to help others.
First Responders are anyone that was at Ground Zero, said Feal, “cops, firefighters, EMS, EMT, even civilians that were effected by 9/11 – we don’t discriminate.
“This is no way for heroes to be treated,” he said of the men and women who worked tirelessly at Ground Zero – many even giving their lives.
Feal contacted Wasserman about the concert, he explained, as a way for the organization to “step it up a notch and make it bigger,” to help all who were affected. Along with other apparel, the foundation will also be selling limited edition Doo-Wop t-shirts on its web site, www.fealgoodfoundation.com.
“We’re at 6 years, and its catastrophic now,” he explained of the problems 9/11 victims and their families deal with, and of the lack of help they receive. “Usually fundraising is a lot smaller,” he said about the organization. “We wanted to help on a bigger scale.”
Feal plans to hold another concert in December, and next year make them a more regular event.
John Feal – [queenscourier.com, 7/5/2007]
John Feal writes a letter posted on MichaelMoore.com, 8/10/2007
WTC responder spearheads three-way kidney transplant [Newsday, 8/30/2007]
The newspaper said victim advocates were skeptical that would be adequate to cover care for long-term illnesses of thousands of people and to compensate the roughly 150 families who blame the death of a relative on work at Ground Zero.
“If you do the math, it’s not that handsome a settlement for the 9/11 responders,” the newspaper quoted John Feal, a responder and Ground Zero activist, as saying.
John Feal – [Reuters, 10/16/2007]
“We didn’t think we’d raise that much money. We were just so excited when we found out. We were blown away by how generous people were,” said one student.
But when John Feal arrived, Giles became emotional. Feal lost a foot as a 9/11 responder at ground zero. He is the founder of Feal Good Foundation and has adopted Giles? case.
“We’re going to show the federal government that while they sit idle that people like us that really have nothing after 9/11, can still make a difference and help,” Feal said.
Those who came to the fundraiser brought a donation. In the end, the amount totaled $5,000. The sum brought Giles to tears, once again.
John Feal – [MSNBC, 10/27/2007]
Riordan and the group’s founder John Feal attended the event Friday night in Barnegat.
Feal lauded the recent response to Giles’ plight, an unfortunate situation which, he pointed out, is not unique among Sept. 11 responders. In the past two months, Feal estimated Riordan, an attorney specializing in workers’ compensation, had added 66 cases to his load, including Giles’. Riordan has taken Giles’ case pro bono.
John Feal – [pressofatlanticcity.com, 10/27/2007
The efforts received a big boost this week when a published report about his struggles caught the eye of John Feal, a 9/11 responder who heads the FealGood Foundation — a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading awareness about the disaster’s long-term health effects on those who worked at the World Trade Center.
“In 2001, on Sept. 11, everybody was patriotic and everybody wanted to help. I hope I can resurface some of those feelings,” Feal said. “You don’t need a plane to hit a building to be compassionate.”
Feal, who has helped dozens of other responders, began a massive public-relations campaign on Giles’ behalf, including appearances on Star Jones’ CourtTV show and CBS news.
He drummed up more than $2,000 in a few days, drawing donations from unlikely sources, including more than $100 from elementary school students in Purchase, N.Y.
“These were 10- and 11-year-olds doing what they can, and, meanwhile, our federal and state government sits by while more and more people die,” Feal said.
As part of his foundation, Feal has advocated for the release of funding to help the estimated 30,000 responders suffering from 9/11-attack-related physical and mental illnesses.
“There are thousands of Charlie Gileses out there,” he said.
In addition to raising money to save the Giles family home, Feal has found an attorney experienced with 9/11 workers’ rights to handle Giles’ government claims pro bono. While any government check is undoubtedly too far away to arrive in time for Tuesday’s deadline, Feal said he hopes the attention drawn to Giles will spur more support for others in need.
“People like Charlie Giles can’t move on because they don’t have justice,” he said. “The government needs to do more; that’s the bottom line.”
John Feal – [app.com, 10/28/2007]
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that all these healthy men who were working in their 30s are dying in their 40s now,” said John Feal, head of the not-for-profit Feal Good Foundation, which advocates for 9/11 responders and their families. “In 10 years, we’re going to outnumber the people who died [on Sept. 11].”
John Feal – [firerescue1.com, 11/30/2007]
John Feal, founder of the FealGood Foundation, said, “These people risked their lives without prejudice. There is no money in the world that is going to save their lives, but we can give them a little compassion and respect. We give them a safety and support system and give them hope.”
Feal is a 9/11 first responder. He is one of the many injured at what he calls “The Pile.” Feal has had to have his foot amputated and underwent months and months of therapy to recover from the ordeal. Like many 9/11 responders, he also suffers from breathing ailments as a result of his work at the site and can no longer work. Yet, in 2005, he started the FealGood Foundation to help those who are so much worse off than he is.
Although he may no longer be able to work a job, Feal has made it his daily duty to help other survivors and advocate on their behalf. He even donated a kidney to another first responder – a man he had never met – whose kidneys failed because of his 9/11 service.
“In 2001, on Sept. 11, everybody was patriotic and everybody wanted to help,” Feal said. “You don’t need a plane to hit a building to be compassionate.”
John Feal – [examiner.gmnews.com, 12/6/2007]
John Feal, a demolition supervisor who lost part of a foot at ground zero, said, “I am sick and I am disgusted that we’re out here in the cold begging for help.”
John Feal – [Newsday, 1/27/2008]
“This isn’t a political issue,” said Feal, who has developed lung problems in addition to having 11 surgeries on his feet. “This is a moral and human issue. This is about people dying.”
Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), praised Feal for the work of the Feal Good Foundation, but added, “he ought not have to do that. … The public sector has the resources and it has the obligation.”
John Feal – [Newsday, 1/28/2008]
“We want to implore our new President to make 9/11 health care an issue,” said John Feal, a Ground Zero volunteer whose foot was crushed by an 8-ton steel beam.
His FealGood Foundation, set up to draw attention to the health problems of Ground Zero workers, organized the trip after Congress cut health care funding by 77%.
Only $25 million has been budgeted for 2009, down from $108 million this year, he said.
“The bottom line is, human life has taken a backseat to economics,” said Feal. “It’s an insult.
John Feal – [NYDailyNews, 2/15/2008]
“We’re not going to stand for being cut out of the budget by 77 percent,” said John Feal, founder of the Fealgood Foundation. “It’s not adequate and it’s an insult.”
John Feal – [ny1.com, 2/25/2008]
The trip was co-organized by the FealGood Foundation, established by crippled first respondent John Feal to raise awareness about the health issues faced by the World Trade Center workers. Health advocacy group 9/11 Health Now, based in Babylon, N.Y., also helped plan the lobbying trip.
John Feal – [nyunews.com, 2/26/2008]
The bus ride was organized by the FealGood Foundation, a group founded by John Feal, a 9/11 volunteer whose foot was crushed by an 8-ton steel beam.
“This is like show and tell,” Feal told the Daily News Monday. “For 6 1/2 years we’ve been neglected, denied and lied to.”
John Feal – [NYDailyNews, 2/26/2008]
The rally was organized by the Fealgood Foundation and its founder, John Feal, 41, of Nesconset, who said a piece of steel crushed one of his feet when he was working on a demolition crew at the trade center. He said he faced foreclosure on his home after he was denied workers’ compensation and Social Security benefits.
“I am one mad American,” Feal told the crowd.
John Feal – [Newsday, 2/26/2008]
Though the recent ruling is good news for Feal and his fellow responders, he wasn’t completely content with the decision. Feal said in a phone interview that the decision was “a step in the right direction, but it was four to five years late.” However, he added that he was “optimistic that by the end of the year, people will start getting compensated.”
John Feal – [nyunews.com, 4/2/2008]
“This gives legitimate foundations a black eye,” said John Feal, whose FealGood Foundation replaced Parisi’s as a charity partner for the motorcycle run.
“As a foundation founder, I’m not surprised,” he said. “As a 9/11 responder, I was irate.”
John Feal – [NJHerald, 4/13/2008]
Activist John Feal said there’s only one punishment for Whitman that fits the crime. “She should go to jail for manslaughter,” he said.
John Feal – [NYDailyNews, 4/23/2008]
Here is an article in Newsday about “Save The Brave.”
Sept. 11 First Responders to Visit W.Va. School
Posted: October 21, 2008
BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — John Feal, founding president of the FealGood Foundation and a demolition expert who worked at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, will bring his message to Upshur County students and residents on Friday, Oct. 24. Feal and up to seven other first responders will meet with students at Buchannon Upshur High School beginning at 8:30 a.m. The group will meet with the community later in the day.
Feal, like 70 percent of 9/11 workers, suffers from post-9/11 illnesses. One of his feet had to be amputated after being crushed by an eight-ton steel beam. He also suffers from a respiratory syndrome called World Trade Center Cough and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Feal agreed to visit West Virginia after some Buckhannon-Upshur High School students contacted him via e-mail after watching a documentary in health educator Mateal Poling’s class. The documentary, Save the Brave, chronicles the daily struggles of 9/11 Ground Zero workers in the seven years since the attacks. Greg Quibell, one of the men featured, died of his injuries the day before the film’s premiere in New York.
“You have no idea how excited they were when Feal replied — me too,” Poling said. “It is hard to imagine that these kids were only first and second graders on 9/11, but thanks to Feal’s efforts, our students are starting to have a better understanding of the profound effects of that day.”
Feal said he is “humbled and honored to meet such amazing Americans.”
“They are a reflection of the teacher who has taught them well,” Feal said. “Your resolve and testament is what makes great future leaders of this country. We look forward to coming to the great state of West Virginia to share our stories and tell of the thousands that need our help.”
The FealGood Foundation’s primary mission, according to its Web site “is to spread awareness and educate the public about the catastrophic health effects on 9/11 first responders, as well as to provide assistance to relieve these great heroes of the financial burdens placed on them over the last five years.” The foundation also works to create a network of advocacy on 9/11 healthcare issues.
For more information, contact Mateal Poling or Mikaela Poling at (304) 472-2155 or by e-mail at luikart2 [at] gmail.com. The FealGood Foundation’s Web site is http://www.fealgoodfoundation.com.