Navigation
Download the AMN app for your mobile device today - FREE!
  •  

The heroes of one tragedy felled by another: Remembering 9/11 survivors taken by coronavirus

COVID-19. (NIAID-RML/Zuma Press/TNS)

It has been four months since Beatrice Granberg, a 9/11 survivor, lost her life to complications due to coronavirus, but for her daughter, it still “doesn’t feel real.”

“She was the heart and soul of the family. Everything revolved around her house. Her life was cut short. She had so much to look forward to,” including spending time with her four great-grandchildren “she adored,” Lisa Venosa said.

Granberg, who grew up in South Beach, was working as an executive secretary at Standard and Poor’s at 55 Water St. at the time of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

After retiring in 2002, Granberg “volunteered and consistently supported several charities serving military and civilian men and women in uniform,” according to her obituary.

- ADVERTISEMENT -

In February of this year, she was diagnosed with two types of lymphoma as a result of being exposed to the aftermath of 9/11, Venosa said.

The 79-year-old was responding well to chemotherapy when she was exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19) while going through physical therapy in a Staten Island nursing home in April.

Only 13 days after receiving the positive results for coronavirus, Granberg passed away.

“She was robbed of time. I don’t know how much time she had with the lymphoma, but she was responding. Whether we had months, years, we will never know,” Venosa said.

Granberg is among the 9/11 survivors with Staten Island ties who lost their lives to the coronavirus pandemic.

The pain of those losses is particularly sharp on the 19th anniversary of Sept. 11 as the borough and the city remember all those lost that day and honor those who responded to the tragedy.

Those who died include a former paramedic and retired firefighters, one of whom also was an NYPD detective. They were in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

Michael Barasch of Barasch McGarry, a law firm in Manhattan that represents first responders and 9/11 survivors, said that he has lost 98 of his clients since March due to complications from COVID-19.

“They were so vulnerable, they couldn’t fight it,” Barash said. “It is just heartbreaking. It really is.”

THOUSANDS ARE VULNERABLE TO COVID-19 COMPLICATIONS

Anthony Iraci, a Staten Islander who died of coronavirus in late March, had underlying respiratory issues and a compromised immune system from working at Ground Zero, according to his wife.

“The doctors at RUMC told me how bad his lungs were,” Melissa Iraci said.

“My husband was always one to lend a helping hand,” she told the Advance/SILive.com in an interview at the time of his death. “He was the most selfless person you’ll ever meet.”

Iraci was among the many 9/11 firefighters, police officers, EMTs and other first responders who have struggled with ill health for years — some succumbing to diseases that resulted from exposure to toxins while working on the pile in Lower Manhattan.

The many thousands of people who have 9/11-related disease are more vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19 since the virus has an outsized impact on people with pre-existing medical conditions.

And among those suffering from 9/11-related illness who contracted coronavirus but survived, the long-term impacts are more severe and lasting, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The scope of those who are Ground Zero first responders could be vast, according to data from the federal Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), which awards money to people who have 9/11-related disease.

As of July, the VCF has distributed nearly $7 billion in awards on more than 30,000 claims. Of all those awards made by the VCF, more than 76% are made to Ground Zero first responders, according to a September 2019 activity report.

REMEMBERED: MATTHEW MOORE

Matthew F. Moore, a Staten Islander and retired firefighter who responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11, died due to complications of coronavirus in late April. He was 52.

Born on Oct. 29, 1967, Moore spent his early years in Prince’s Bay, according to a family obituary.

He attended grammar school at St. Joseph-St. Thomas parish, where he was also an altar server. He later attended St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, N.J., where he played soccer and was a track and field star.

During his teenage years, he was an altar server for the first dedication of Resurrection Cemetery. He also worked as a groundskeeper at the cemetery in Pleasant Plains.

After graduating, he worked as a machine operator for Permacel in New Brunswick. It wasn’t until 1998 that Moore became a firefighter, a career that family called a “lifelong dream.”

Initially, Moore worked for the FDNY in the Bronx, but eventually transferred to his home borough. He was stationed at Engine Co. 161/Ladder Co. 81 in South Beach.

For the three months following the 9/11 attacks, Moore spent every single day helping victims, dedicating that period of his life to those who were suffering.

According to his obituary, Moore loved the brotherhood of the FDNY. He eventually retired in 2006 and pursued a second career.

Moore attended the Middlesex County Radiological Program to become a radiological technologist, a medical professional that specializes in imaging of human anatomy.

At the time of his death, he held the radiological technologist position at Northwell GoHealth Urgent Care in Eltingville.

Family said Moore enjoyed playing golf and vacationing in Ireland and on the Jersey Shore. He also took an annual trip with his father, Matthew, to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to play golf.

REMEMBERED: ANTHONY IRACI

A husband, father, coach, former NYPD detective, retired FDNY firefighter and 9/11 first responder, Anthony Iraci died March 27 of complications from COVID-19 in Richmond University Medical Center in West Brighton. He was 48.

Iraci, of Westerleigh, had two children with his wife, Melissa: Alexa and Anthony Jr.

A former president of the St. Rita’s Athletic Association, he coached for the Richmond Titans baseball team for nine years and coached at Mid-Island Little League. Iraci was regarded by his wide circle of family and friends as a “family man” who “lived for his children.”

“Whoever needed him, he was a phone call away,” said Melissa. “He wanted to help everybody, he wanted to help his community.

“He was at every single baseball game, every dance recital, flag football, softball, and basketball game.”

“Anthony was the definition of a nice guy. He always helped out no matter what,” said Domic Sollitto. “He gave all his time to others, and all the while being there for his family. He made a big impact on his family and the kids he coached.”

Melissa Kraker, whose son was coached by Iraci, agreed. “The entire team adored their coach, especially my son,” she said. “Coach Anthony will never be forgotten.”

REMEMBERED: JOHN PATRICK WHYTE

John Patrick Whyte, 69, died May 12 at Richmond University Medical Center after a tough battle with COVID-19.

Whyte was married for 38 years to his wife, Patricia, and had four children and one grandchild.

According to a family obituary, Whyte was born in Manchester, England, on Oct. 4, 1950. He moved with his family to Brooklyn in 1957. The family owned and operated a candy shop in Brooklyn until the early 1960s when they relocated to Staten Island.

He spent the rest of his youth growing up in Bay Terrace and graduated from New Dorp High School in 1968. During his years at New Dorp, he was an accomplished member of the track team.

He graduated from Staten Island Community College in 1974 and worked for the U.S. Postal Service from 1976 to 1983.

Whyte proudly joined the FDNY in 1983 and was assigned to Engine Co. 167/Ladder Co. 87 in Eltingville, where he spent all of his 22-year career, including his time as a 9/11 first responder. He attended St. Vincent’s School of Nursing and became a registered nurse in 1992. He balanced both careers for many years until his retirement in 2004.

Whyte will be remembered by those that knew him for many endearing qualities; top among them was his ability to tell a good story and his infectious laugh. He was a talented musician, a wonderful singer and guitar player. He particularly enjoyed performing at the annual firehouse Christmas party with his firehouse band.

REMEMBERED: BRIAN KEITH SADDLER

Brian Keith Saddler, 60, died of COVID-19 on May 8 at Hackensack Hospital. He was born on Staten Island, but moved to New Jersey in the late 1980s and last resided in Ringwood, N.J.

He was married to his devoted wife, Debra, and had two children.

Saddler’s entire career was in health care, starting as a volunteer emergency medical technician for Volunteer Heart Ambulance when he was a freshman in college. He started studying pharmacy at St. John’s University in Queens, but transferred to Wagner College where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology.

After graduation, he joined the Emergency Medical Service and found his life’s purpose. The next 37 years were spent in health care becoming a paramedic at St. Vincent’s in Manhattan and a 9/11 responder before working at Staten Island University Hospital in Prince’s Bay and Maimonides Medical Center.

In 2018, he became a certified flight paramedic and completed training and exams to realize his dream of becoming a nurse. In December, he became a registered nurse in the CCU of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Wayne, N.J.

Family said that before his death, Saddler had the opportunity to buy his dream car, a Dodge Hemi Charger, which he drove often. He was a big fan of “Monty Python” and a huge heavy and death metal fan. He traveled around the country to music concerts and festivals with his wife, Deb, his son, Tom, and his sister, Lori.

___

© 2020 Staten Island Advance