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Letter: New York State must care for families of fallen heroes

I read the June 12 Buffalo News article regarding the fight for compensation for New York State Trooper Lawrence W. Lakeman, who contracted pancreatic cancer from doing his job in Manhattan after the terror attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He later died on his 42nd birthday, Aug. 24, 2007.

He was sent to do a job, and he was not properly equipped with the proper mask to withstand the smoke and dust that was billowing in the air.

His wife, Audra, has been denied the right to receive compensation for her husband’s death due to paperwork not being filled out with the Worker’s Compensation Board. She has been fighting this ordeal for 11 years.

Her case is so similar to mine with the New York State Retirement System and the Department of Corrections wherein they stated that my husband had not returned paperwork to their facility in a timely manner. I have been dealing with my ordeal for 12 years.

These men were in a fight for their lives and they did their jobs as they were ordered to do, and the state of New York once again refuses to take care of their widows. Once again, how many others are they denying to take care of when the time comes?

Janis Middlebrooks

Buffalo

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