FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7, 2009
SCHUMER, KING PRESENT THE FAMILY OF GLENN WINUK - LI VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTER WHO WAS KILLED AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER - THE 9/11 HEROES MEDAL OF VALOR
Winuk, a Jericho Volunteer Fire Fighter, Raced to Lower Manhattan but Died During the Rescue Effort at Ground Zero
Schumer and King Led Eight Year Long Fight to Have the Medal Awarded and Now the Justice Department Has Now Given NY Hero the Honor He Earned and Deserved
Schumer, King Will be Joined by Glenn's Family and Members of his Volunteer Fire Company for Official Presentation
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Peter King today presented the family of Glenn Winuk, a volunteer Jericho firefighter who was killed on 9/11 when he heroically raced to Ground Zero to help even though he was off duty, the 9/11 Medal of Valor. The 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor is a special Medal of Valor for the Public Safety Officers who were killed as a result of the terrorist attacks in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. On the morning of September 11, just moments after the attacks on the World Trade Center, Winuk raced from his nearby evacuated law office at 195 Broadway equipped with a paramedic bag to participate in the rescue effort. He died later that morning when the South Tower collapsed.
Schumer and King were joined by the Glenn’s brother Jay and his parents, along with members of the local fire department and other community leaders.
“When Glenn Winuk saw New Yorkers in danger, he didn’t hesitate to act. He took up the call, just as so many of his fellow fire fighters and first responders did on that terrible day, and headed straight to Ground Zero to try and save lives. Unfortunately, one life he couldn’t save was his own. Glenn is a hero in the true sense of the word and without a shadow of a doubt deserves this honor. His family has had to wait for nearly six years to receive any recognition of Glenn’s brave’s acts and we thank the Justice Department for conferring this honor.”
"This has been a long, tough fight and I am extremely pleased that the Department of Justice did the right thing by recognizing Glenn's heroic and courageous actions on September 11th,” said Representative Peter King.
On the morning of September 11, just moments after the attacks on the World Trade Center, Winuk raced from his nearby evacuated law office at 195 Broadway equipped with a paramedic bag to participate in the rescue effort. He died later that morning when the South Tower collapsed. His remains were found in March 2002, a first response medic bag and the remains of other first responders by his side. Winuk was 40 years old when he died. He had been trained as a firefighter and an emergency medical technician, and had worked with the Jericho department for 19 years.
After a more than four year long legal battle, the Department of Justice dropped its appeal of a June 2007 federal court ruling granting Winuk recognition under the DOJ’s Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Act (PSOB) as having died in the Line of Duty. The federal Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Act awards $250,000 to the families of public safety officers who die in the line of duty. Now that the appeal has been lifted and the appeals court ruling has been upheld once and for all, Glenn’s family will now receive the $250,000.
In addition to receiving the financial benefits, Schumer and King said the distinction of having died in the line of duty made Winuk eligible to receive the prestigious 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor, awarded by the President to public safety officers who died on that fateful day. The 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor Act was signed into law in 2005, and was meant to recognize those public safety officers who were killed, including NYPD, FDNY, Port Authority police officers and emergency services workers, and many other officers. On July 1, 2005, a list of 442 public safety officers was certified by the Attorney General to receive the medal, and on September 9, 2005, President Bush presented the medals to the surviving families of the fallen heroes.
In year’s past, both Schumer and King had called on the Justice Department to officially cite Winuk for his bravery and recommend to the President that medal be awarded.
For his act of bravery and in acknowledgment of his credentials as a qualified rescuer, Winuk has also been honored by New York State, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the National EMS Memorial Service, the FDNY Honor Legion, at the Firefighters Memorial Wall at Ground Zero and elsewhere.