Minneapolis, MN – Gary Smiley, Rescue Paramedic with Battalion 31, was at the base of the North Tower when it collapsed on September 11, 2001. And today, he has nearly lost everything, including his home and health. Sixteen years following 9/11, he has yet to receive just compensation for personal losses and damages suffered. Gary has had 7 sinus surgeries and suffers from Reactive Airway Disease, GERD, loss of balance and equilibrium due to a lesion in his left ear, Sinusitis, Rhinitis, chronic sinus infections, WTC Diabetic Syndrome (Syndrome X), and PTSD.
He has filed a lawsuit in Federal court alleging he has been discriminated against under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He alleges that the city improperly denied him injured-on-duty status while he was recovering from reconstructive sinus surgery related to injuries suffered in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks.
Gary joined the NYC Fire Department in 1986. He worked as a Rescue Paramedic in Special Operations and was awarded 27 medals for acts of bravery including medals for the 1993 WTC bombing, the Medal of Honor for the Sept. 11th attacks and the Tracy Allen Lee Medal (the second highest in the FDNY) for rescue of civilians above the floor of fire without a charged hose line.
Due to his illness and chronic breathing problems he cannot work, and has used up his retirement funds. Wanting to be close to his doctors, adult children and grandchild; he began the search for a home he could afford that would accept his service dog and accommodate several other criteria due to his illnesses.
After months of searching, he found the perfect place close to his family in New Jersey. The Minneapolis-based Homes for Heroes Foundation assisted him with funds needed for a security deposit and first month rent, and coordinating with Mohawk Moving and Storage in Blaine, Minnesota whom provided the 100-mile professional pack-and-move from Albrightsville, PA to Franklin Park, NJ on Monday December 28th.
Gary commented, “It is not easy to afford a lot of the things many take for granted when you’re an ill 9/11 First Responder from the NYC. I truly appreciate everything the Homes for Heroes Foundation did; from assisting me in renting my Franklin Park condo, to setting up and arranging the moving company. The movers were truly fantastic people and took every step to make sure everything was packed safely and efficiently.”
Ruth Johnson, Executive Director and founder of the Homes for Heroes Foundation added, “Funds from the Homes for Heroes Foundation can go much further, and help many more folks when other generous people and businesses chip in and help.”
Homes for Heroes, Inc.
Service Deserves Its Rewards®. Homes for Heroes is the largest nationwide network of affiliate real estate specialists and community businesses committed to providing easy ways for firefighters, law enforcement, military members, healthcare workers and teachers to save on a home, and on everyday purchases. It is our way to say, “Thank you for the services you provide everyday.” To date, Homes for Heroes has given back over $12.7 million to heroes at their real estate closings. In addition to their savings, every time a hero uses our program for their real estate transaction, a donation is made to the Homes for Heroes Foundation to assist their fellow heroes in need.
Homes for Heroes Foundation
A public charity, non-profit 501(c)(3) established by Homes for Heroes® to provide and / or coordinate financial assistance and housing resources to our nations’ heroes; including firefighters, law enforcement, military members, healthcare workers and teachers. The foundation provides cash assistance and / or negotiates added value in donated local services for desperately needed home repairs. In 2015, the foundation assisted just over 100 heroes.