There were 2,977 lives lost at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon and inside the four hijacked planes on Sept. 11, 2001. But not all the heroes of 9/11 died on that one day.
Connecticut State Police were among the many agencies deployed to Ground Zero. Troopers, including 14 K9 teams, worked the site of the collapse for 11 days.
Seventeen years later, Trooper Walter Greene’s exposure to the toxic rubble pile would claim his life. The marine corps veteran was only 49 years old when he got the diagnosis – cancer – that doctors linked to his time spent searching for survivors at Ground Zero.
“He helped bringing family members. He helped look for people and then he also escorted the trucks that were carrying the stuff back and forth,” his widow Suzanne Greene said. “The way he died was not who he was, the way he lived was… His life did mean something…I’m sorry…and his legacy goes on."
In May 2020 Connecticut State Trooper First Class Eugene Kenneth Baron Jr. also succumbed to exposure cancer.
9/11 is still claiming victims. An estimated 400,000 people were exposed to the toxic cloud in lower Manhattan. The federal program tracking 9/11-related illnesses has more than 81,000 emergency responders, Ground Zero workers and volunteers enrolled, along with over 30,000 survivors who worked, lived or went to school nearby.
Over 200,000 firefighters have died from 9/11-related illnesses, and from one national tragedy to another, dozens of first responders who survived 9/11 and its aftermath have now lost their lives to Covid-19.