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Smithtown Central School District
Smithtown Central
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Retired FDNY firefighter visits HSE and HSW

June 2, 2023

Retired FDNY firefighter Michael O'Connell was at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001.

On Friday morning, Mr. O'Connell visited High School East and High School West to discuss his experiences that day as well as his work getting the Zadroga Act passed with actor, host, and activist, Jon Stewart.

Mr. O'Connell had been a member of the FDNY for only four months when the 911 attacks occurred. In 2007 he was diagnosed with sarcoidosis from his time working at Ground Zero. Sarcoidosis is an auto-immune disease that can cause tissue to swell painfully.

Today Mr. O'Connell spoke with high school juniors about his work to ensure that first responders and others now fighting illnesses due to time spent near Ground Zero get adequate health care and compensation.

For more on the Zadroga Act click here 

firefighter talking to audience

firefighter talking to audience

firefighter talking to audience