Transcript for Ground Zero hero helping 9/11 first responders
19 years ago, John feal worked as a demolition supervisor at ground zero when a 4-on the steel beam fell on him, leaving John this the hospital for 11 weeks. Since then he's dedicated his life to advocating for first responders through the fealgood foundation. Joining us now is the man himself, John feal, thank you so much for being with us. Today is a day of remembrance, a day of reflection, when you think back to that time, what You know, it feels like yesterday. Thank you for having me, because I'm so humbled, and there's probably more important people you could be interviewing today and my heart bleeds, my soul is crushed just thinking about everybody who lost a loved one 19 years ago today and sadly, we continue to lose those who ran toward harm's way and that's where my life is dedicated and, you know, 9/11 is the longest day in the history of days, it simply hasn't ended for those who were affected by this horrific Tuesday morning. On a day on reflection and remembrance, I hope and I pray that everybody gives of themselves today. You know, charity overcame triumph over anger and we saw humanity at its finest 19 years ago and I hope we can restore that today. That's so true. It's a privilege and an honor to be interviewing you. Because you've spent your life and these years since in service. Respiratory issues are still affecting 9/11 E first responders. That puts them at high risk for covid-19. I know you actually had the virus back in March, you spent some time in the emergency room, tell us how you're doing today. Yeah, just like my injury at ground zero, 11 weeks in the hospital, and then getting covid on top and then pneumonia, I'm not the same. Physically and mentally, I'm never going to be the same. I'm all right with that. You know there's an old saying, you only live once. That's not true. You only die once. You live every day. I'm taking advantage of that. I didn't need 9/11 to know right from wrong. I needed -- I needed 9/11 to show everybody how my mother raised me. That's beautiful. You've certainly learned to love more. I can see that. I can feel that across the screen right now, because these are the moments that make you decide who you're going to be, it's not what you do but who you are. You actually were denied compensation for your injury, because it happened 969 hours after the attack, but that experience led you -- that service I was just talking about, creating the fealgood foundation, you did that 2006. Tell everybody about the foundation and tell people how people can help on this day people should be giving back. Yeah, the feal foundation is just the reaction to the lack of action by our local, state and federal government. When I started this I had no idea where I'll be today. We donated over $7 million. We built a park on Long Island dedicated to those who died. Tomorrow we'll read the names of 170 heroes and they'll go on our wall and I donated a kidney to a complete stranger. Anyone can go to fealgoodfoundation.org. Listen, it's great to make a donation, if they don't, they can just catch up on what's happened over the last 19 years to the fraternity of heroes across our country. It's not just New York now, it's every state that somebody went to so ground zero during the cleanup and recovery and next Tuesday, Jon Stewart and I will back in D.C. Advocating and introducing legislation for soldiers coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq who have the same cancers and the same respiratory illnesses because of the 9/11 responders. John, like I said, it's honor to be with you. It's not how long you live it's how you live. You're living the very best of life so John feal, thank you so much for being with us on this very special day of remembrance. Thank you for having me. And thank you for making me cry. Those tears are powerful. Thank you for moving us all.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.