9/11 first responder advocate: ‘I’m tired of seeing my friends suffer’

John Feal, a former demolition supervisor at Ground Zero, discusses his work to raise awareness and financial support for first responders 19 years after 9/11.
7:44 | 09/12/20

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Transcript for 9/11 first responder advocate: ‘I’m tired of seeing my friends suffer’
The anniversary of 9/11 and we bring in John feel nineteen years ago he was a demolition supervisor at ground zero when four ton steel beam fell on his left foot leaving him hospitalized for months. Since then he's dedicated his life to advocating for first responders through the feel good foundation. And work with comedian Jon Stewart helped raise awareness John thank you so much for being with us tonight. And. Thank you Adam me. I am humbled to be here especially our daylight today. And so and now. Excuse me if I did you cry you or I do get upset because. Does not only just David this week has been emotionally draining physically draining. And you know I have a big events mark to Wear com and there are a lot of pressure to get it right. Well first I want to say that it's us we are humbled tit to have UN and of course we understand any kind in emotion. It doesn't end even nineteen years later in. So just want to start with sharing your story you were injured in the aftermath of the attack. Not on 9/11 itself and so then you were denied any sort of compensation. Explain to us why that is in and what other first responders were also denied compensation. Yes and the Houghton. Active taught him on my injury was the worst thing that happens in life get into an all right. Bennett and fighting for basic benefits like workman's comp carried Billy was a second worst that it happened in life. I the end the worst injury at ground zero during a ten and cleanup and recovery but everybody got sick he denied benefits. They had to prove that they had illnesses in the auto zone where invisible. And and might not always image all. And I didn't really had anything to prove that in writing according. But you know I'm I got out of the hospital from a pretty. Neat. And I do not only was not physically with knee but it was fundamentally wrong and I was diagnosed by what I should. But come within days added a hospital. I'm I was doing ENDER. And go to therapy. And in pretty good at it would be today I stayed at. Without hesitation. I was an adult place it took a long time to meet to be able to help other areas I don't feel good foundation helped John peel. The feel good foundation was created at a anger and frustration. And basically and a lack of action we were a reaction to the lack of action by a state local and federal government and 1617. Years lady Jerry and still being opinion but. Tennessee senator and a dark place. Do feeling you've emerge from that now. Now. I think I'm going to be an adult face harassment lighten still. You know people we upload time in actually help you know I am bullish manic. I can't make its us tomorrow aunt. I'd been there before a lot of people got sick in 2009 or 20120 last year. And they shake Garrett adult place. I'll walk and throw it I'll take continental plates ago that we cannot sit general to looked at him. And all Hoggan and Holden and cry with them and allegedly done and on this it didn't listen. I do whatever they want but I don't want them to be alone you know deal cliche we have good days and bad days. We have days and extended any alternative. Salty gauge any time in a week and the alternative. John in the mid severe pain you are certainly a bright spot to so many. What a switch gears from nominee get your response or report in the daily news alleging that the trump administration has secretly siphoned nearly four million dollars were program the tracks and treats FDNY firefighters and medics suffering from. 9/11 related illnesses. What's your reaction to that. Well you know our. I'm Dave reflection in his day every amendments that I did have to entertain that question on and I will. It's it's an insult to those who died acting as an insult to those who was sick and dying and have died since 9/11. To take money on the program. That we walk the halls of congress will protect key is to get a dog that's three times I'm. That angers me but it is disturbing and it and a pitch true. And it's repulsive because every time we went down there and we boy Jon Stewart and when we go back next Tuesday. On it should be on their toes and they should be ready for us because I'm just got in a good mood. And now I'm tarred as he migrants opera I'm tired of seeing Americans opera and tight is seen every elected official. They get their responsibility. At accused enjoined it is normal legislative process and eating. Speaking of elected officials lastly I just don't play you a clip of then candidate Donald Trump in 2016 debating senator Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination. He was responding to cruise speaking negatively about so called New York values. When the World Trade Center came down. I saw something that no place on earth could've handled more beautifully. More U mainly the New York kid to 100. Yeah. Everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world. Loves new York and love New Yorkers. Subsequently there seems to be some love lost between the president and at least the leadership of his hometown do you think of the trump administration is taking care of the 9/11. First responders and what more needs to be done by the president and by congress. Let me start up I think I know Ted Cruz. I hate you know at det 18100 plus meetings in Britain and oppression shall Washington. It is colleagues don't like Ted Cruz so on Donald Trump's right in a way. You know Neil walked. No matter where it is a disaster whether terrorist manmade mother nature in the united staying. Around the country. Neil is always get first whether it's every source says that aren't an edgy. And yet although he didn't help out patsy true spirit. Of the human being used in a new Yorker the truce beer the American people. It's being a human being shown empathy so I get a president in congress that but it hasn't White House. I'm has scented oil has got house hope they did not eleven community enough. Now they signed a bill last year they passed a bill because we shame them into it and we had Jones who would who's got a boys. I dare dare dare garrison many issues that aged in his country that there are good people slaughtered and John peel. Who haven't issued JR heart that he get legislation passed out will help the masses. And until. And committees today I'm the youngest of five kids with real assistance. Until there's a woman president. All woman in charge in the senate a would be charged in that house speak but below the outspoken women across the boy. We will never get anything done in Washington DC that is eight back. John you've had so much that we'll stick with me among them as some people have good days some people have bad days some people simply have days John feel. We thank you so much for your time and end all that you continue to do we appreciate it. They could grab a Vietnam you know I hope everybody remembers those we lost nineteen years ago today. We certainly do.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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