A year ago, I got a phone call from an engineer, Eduard Badiu. It was a little after 6 and his call woke me up. He called to tell me that people would need my help because a terrible tragedy happened with a condominium that collapsed. His voice was scared. He told me that he was part of a special task force and went to the loss.
Yesterday morning the tears were wiped from my cheeks as I listened to family members of the victims during the justice hearing in the Champlain Towers South Collapse. Personal tragedy and the deep sorrow they suffer cannot be overstated. Still, those who suffered thanked a group that is not so often publicly thanked – lawyers. Yesterday morning, I felt humbled to be thanked for being part of what was truly a “dream team”; of lawyers. One victim said we were angels and heroes in costume.
Before I write anything more about anyone, be the first to respond to our heroes. I had dinner last night with Chris Aldrich, an official of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (MAPIA). Chris is a firefighter from Toms River, New Jersey. We talked about the hearing and the facts about the case. He mentioned Florida Task Forces 1 and 2 as task forces that deserved special recognition. It was not a pleasant conversation because of what Chris explained that they were faced with after the collapse. I found this in an article:
[T]men and women who make up Florida Task Forces 1 and 2, the first teams to respond to the apartment collapse on June 24, 2021.
“We train and we train all year round, and there is nothing that prepares you for that level,” said Miami-Dade firefighter Frank Garcia.
He and his K9, Zoe, were some of the first to compete for the crash site. Garcia said he got a call around 2 a.m. and was in Surfside an hour later.
“The emotional charge, it’s something,” he said. “It takes hard after so long.”
I found another article:
Today, Gov. Ron DeSantis joined the Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces to present them with one-time checks that begin deploying through the “Florida Heroes” initiative. This initiative is an opportunity to draw the attention of police, paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and firefighters in the state of Florida with a one-time payment of up to $ 1,000 as an estimate of the many selfless sacrifices made during the covid pandemic.
“Florida’s first responders deserve attention and appreciation for their service,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “The men and women who come with me here today from Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces 1 and 2 are the best of the best. We thank them for their tireless response in Surfside and hope that these help checks express our gratitude for all they have done in our state. ‘
“Traitors risk their lives every day to save ours,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “Every day, these men and women put on their uniforms, leave their families, defy their instincts and end up in danger to keep our communities safe. I am proud that our administration honors them today by giving bonuses to Florida’s heroes.”
“The members of US&R Task Forces 1 and 2 are heroes,” said Secretary of the Economy Dane Eagle. “We are here today to show our appreciation for their work and to assist the Governor as he continues to fulfill his commitment to provide relief payments to Florida’s first responders.”
After his first messages and conversations, Ed Badiu called and texted me about his experiences. We discussed what had happened while he was involved in search, rescue and recovery. At one point he wrote to me that he could not go back – he needed a break. God bless him and those who answer.
My father was a Coast Guard officer. Recovering the deceased is never easy for the family members or those who have the recovery job.
Before I write more about this historical fall solution, and given the anniversary of the tragedy, please pause for a moment of your time to reflect on what first responders endure. Then think about what action or confirmation you can take to thank for their service.
No cause justifies the death of innocent people.