2016-02-17 / Front Page


By John Toscano

The State Senate has approved Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.’s legislation (S.3604) which would enable step children and other non-biological children raised by deceased 9/11 first responders to become eligible for “legacy credits” on competitive civil service exams.
“It’s the right thing to do in honoring the memory of some of our city’s bravest men and women,” Addabbo stated. He explained:
“Several years ago, New York State enacted a law to pay tribute to first responders who died as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by providing their surviving children and siblings with an additional 10 points on competitive civil service exams.
“Many of these children and other relatives of firefighters, police officers, EMTs, paramedics and others who perished as a direct result of the attacks – whether at the scene or from subsequent related health issues – often wish to follow in the footsteps of the loved ones they lost and pursue civil service careers. But the initial legacy credit law inadvertently left out a number of other family members of first responders who died, and my legislation is an effort to address a specific deficiency.”
Under Addabbo’s (D–Howard Beach) bill, the step-children or children of surviving spouses of deceased first responders who were not legally adopted or their biological offspring would become eligible for the extra points on civil service exams.
Addabbo said, “For many of these children, the moms or dads they tragically lost as a result of the 9-11 attacks and their aftermath were the only moms or dads they ever knew – regardless of whether they were related by blood. These children were forced to say goodbye to parents who cared for them, raised them, supported them financially, and loved them. That these men and women were not the biological parents of these children did not prevent them from being loving families. Nor did it prevent these children from feeling as much grief and loss as any other sons and daughters of 9/11 heroes and heroines.”
A local advocate who has worked diligently with Addabbo to move this legislation forward, Joan Abbruzzino-York, lost her firefighter husband, Ray, as a result of the September 11 attacks, and is hoping her son, Robert, will soon have the opportunity to follow in his step-father’s footsteps with the help of the legacy credit program.
“Sometimes, the definition of family is much bigger and more complex than the law officially recognizes,” said Addabbo. “My proposal will help to ensure that additional children who suffered the loss of a parent as a result of the terrorist attacks 15 years ago will have a greater opportunity to enter public service – whether as first responders themselves, or in other civil service capacities.”

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