Thomas Wilson

Peter Haskell/WCBS 880

Nearly 18 Years After 9/11, Health Battle Continues For Long Island Officer

April 12, 2019 - 2:42 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The impact of 9/11 is felt by first responders every single day.

WCBS 880's Peter Haskell met with a Long Island police officer who is undergoing another surgery Friday.

Thomas Wilson, of Bellport, was an NYPD sergeant on 9/11. In the months after the Sept. 11 attacks, Wilson said he worked nearly 350 hours at ground zero and then the Freshkills Landfill.

 

His health problems started in 2008 with a sore throat that just wouldn't quit. Then a specialist found a mass on his tongue.

"I went into Mount Sinai and a week later I had a third of my tongue cut out," said Wilson, who is now a police officer in Suffolk County.

A series of grafts allow him to speak.

"To rebuild my new tongue... they took out a piece of my wrist," Wilson said.

The radiation that followed led to disintegration of his jaw. This latest surgery is to repair that damage.  

"My jaw is turning into sawdust," Wilson said. 

The 50-year-old has been active lobbying Congress for 9/11 benefits. He's made nearly 30 trips to Capitol Hill.

"I just want to help the people who can't help themselves," Wilson said.

The 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund is set to run out of money by 2020. Last month, a group of 9/11 first responders was back in Washington to drum up support for the Never Forget the Heroes Act to replenish the fund.