We just lost another retired NYPD detective who spent six grueling months working on the Ground Zero recovery effort. It was another agonizing death from a 9/11-related cancer.
Detective Christopher Cranston, 48, who spent his career in Brooklyn’s 60th and 62nd Precincts, died of cancer Saturday — and his grieving wife ripped into the U.S. senators who are blocking the renewal of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Clare Cranston said she called Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee from her dying husband’s hospital bedside, getting a staff member on the phone for Lee, and a recorded message for Paul.
“I called up Sen. Lee and Sen Paul and I told them they need to sign the bill,” she said. ”I opened with, ‘How did they sleep last night? Because I slept on a chair for the last 14 days.”
Ultimately, Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul were the only “no” votes in a 97-2 senate vote on the matter, both men citing cost concerns over an unlimited medical and support fund for 9/11 first responders. New agencies far and wide are reporting and speculating long-term career damage for Paul and Lee based on their votes.
Detective Cranston was living with his wife and children in Breezy Point on Sept. 11, 2001, worked on the pile and spent months sifting through debris at the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island.
“He worked 12-hour tours, six days a week at the time, as did all the others,” Mrs. Cranston reported. “At the time, we had four children, and the youngest was three months old. He had just come home at 3 o’clock in the morning from overtime the night before.”
Mrs. Cranston also reported that she and her husband saw the events of (/11 unfold on TV, and he put on his uniform and went to work. She related that she didn’t see him for several days after that.
Detective Cranston was diagnosed with colorectal cancer on June 8, 2018, but the cancer had already metastasized to his liver and spread to several other areas of his body by then.
Mrs. Cranston recalls spending their 20th wedding anniversary on this past June 26th in one of her husband’s chemotherapy sessions.
Cranston joined the NYPD in 1991 and became a detective shortly after 9/11, in November 2001. He left the force in 2013 as a member of the 60th Precinct detective squad.
Cranston is survived by five children. His son Chris, 19, recalled that his father loved going to Mets and Jets games with him.
“He’s a great man,” he told the Daily News. “He was really a mentor, really shaped me into who I am today. He’s in a better place now.”
Funeral services for Detective Cranston are scheduled for Thursday (7/25) at 11:00 a.m. at St. Christopher’s Roman Catholic Church at 130 Midland Ave. on Staten Island.
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Just last week, Jon Stewart also blasted Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah.
“It’s absolutely outrageous, and you’ll pardon me if I’m not impressed in any way by Rand Paul’s fiscal responsibility virtue signaling,” he said.
He pointed out Paul’s hypocrisy.
“Rand Paul presented tissue paper avoidance of the $1.5 trillion tax cut that added hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit and now he stands up at the last minute, after 15 years of blood, sweat, and tears from the 9/11 community, to say that it’s all over now and we’re going to balance the budget on the backs of the 9/11 first responder community.”
Last Wednesday, Lee placed a procedural hold on the legislation.
Also slamming them was John Feal of the Feal Good Foundation. He’s a former emergency responder who joined with the former “Daily Show” host to work on behalf of 9/11 victims.
Feal said residents of the senators’ home states should be ripping mad.
“The people from the state of Kentucky and the people from the state of Utah deserve much better,” he said.
“I think they lack humanity,” he added of Paul and Lee.
Feel also praising other lawmakers for trying to bring the reauthorization legislation to a vote, crediting Republican Senate Majority Whip John Thune of South Dakota, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York for their efforts to fast-track the bill.
Gillibrand’s unanimous consent request on the Senate floor was shut down by Paul’s objection.
When called out on it, a spokesperson for Paul said the Senator is”not blocking anything,” and instead is trying to figure out how to pay for it.
“Senator Paul is not blocking anything. He is simply seeking to pay for it. As with any bill, Senator Paul always believes it needs to be paid for. Senator Paul is simply offering an amendment, which other senators support, to pay for this legislation,” a spokesperson said.
New York’s other senator, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, also criticizing Paul for his motion.
“I would say to my friend from Kentucky, throughout the history of America, when our young men and women—and older men and women—volunteered in the armed services and risked their lives for our freedom, we came back and gave them healthcare,” he said.
“And we’re still working on making it better. Why are these people any different?”
Feal and Stewart called out Paul and Lee in an interview with Bret Baier, saying the two “are going to lose.”
Feal said Paul’s motion was “outrageous,” then blasted Paul’s statement.
“Any statement that they come out with doesn’t hold water with me.”
In early June, Stewart, 9/11 emergency responders and their advocates made an emotional plea to Congress to make the Victim Compensation Fund permanent.
And Stewart, the former “Daily Show” host, pulled no punches, calling out congress on “callous indifference and rank hypocrisy” in failing to renew the fund.
“Why this bill isn’t unanimous consent and a stand-alone issue, is beyond my comprehension. And I’ve yet to hear a reasonable explanation as to why,” said Stewart, who also blasted lawmakers for failing to attend Tuesday’s hearing. “Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders, and in front of me a nearly empty Congress.”
Choking back tears, he demanded that the leaders of our nation step up and fully fund a program to support sick and dying 9/11 first responders and choking back tears.
“They responded in five seconds, they did their jobs. With courage grace, tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later, do yours!” he shouted.
He reminded them it’s not a New York issue, it’s a national one.
“I’m awfully tired of hearing that it’s a 9/11 New York issue. Al-Qaeda didn’t shout death to Tribeca. They attacked America and these men and women … brought our country back,” he said.
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was slated to run out of money by December 2020, best case scenario.
YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS VIDEO. An emotional Jon Stewart is given the turnout coat of @FDNY legend Ray Pfeifer, who died from 9/11 related cancer. Ret #FDNY Kenny Specht makes the presentation outside a Congressional hearing room. @wcbs880 #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/WD6kW5Lvje
— Peter Haskell (@peterhaskell880) June 11, 2019
Four years ago, Stewart sat in the same seat making the same case.
House Judiciary Comm hearing on 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund is underway. Comedian and 9/11 advocate Jon Stewart is among the witnesses. VCF is running dry because of a surge of illnesses. Bill would restore funding to help responders and survivors. @wcbs880 #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/AxSSfFX95s
— Peter Haskell (@peterhaskell880) June 11, 2019
But the money in the fund has dried up as the number of cancer cases continues to grow, and the 2015 compromise only added another 5 years of funding.
Stewart was also joined by the widow of a construction worker who responded at Ground Zero, clutching a photo of her late husband to her chest as she spoke.
Comedian Jon Stewart is all business at House hearing. He blasted Congress for its inaction in failing to fully fund #VCF. This was an attack on US. Stewart testified “al Qaeda didn’t shout death to Tribeca.” @wcbs880 #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/DNjt2y6Zqm
— Peter Haskell (@peterhaskell880) June 11, 2019
The former talk show host’s testimony was the most viscious as he accused lawmakers of negligence and of treating first responders lobbying for more relief money “like children trick-or-treating, rather than the heroes they are and they will always be.”
“I’m sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic, but I’m angry, and you should be, too, and they’re all angry as well and they have every justification to be that way,” he said.
He then pointed to the room behind him of aging first responders who had made another trip to Washington to fight for health care funding. It was backwards, he said.
“This hearing should be flipped. These men and women should be up on this stage, Congress should be down here answering their questions as to why this is so damn hard and take so damn long.”
The room exploded in applause when he finished his remarks.
“I cried through all of it, most of us did,” Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., told Stewart.
After his comments, the Louisiana Republican predicted the bill would sail through the committee and pass nearly-unanimously through the House.
Stewart put McConnell on notice. He promised that advocates won’t allow a “certain someone” in the Senate to use the program as a “political football” in spending negotiations.
“Your indifference cost these men and women their most valuable commodity: time,” Stewart said at one point.
Before Stewart spoke, Congress heard Luis Alvarez, a retired New York City detective, who will go through his 69th round of chemotherapy due to complications from being at Ground Zero.
“We are not here for anything for ourselves,” said Alvarez. “I did not want to be anywhere else but Ground Zero. We showed the world we would never back down and that we can all work together.”
Alvarez said he wasn’t there for himself, he was there so the victims who come after him are taken care of.
“My life isn’t worth more than the next responder to get cancer. This fund is not a ticket to paradise, it’s there to provide to our families when we aren’t there,” he said.