By RUDY OROZCO
On Nov. 6, the toxic environment at Ground Zero claimed another victim. After a long battle, DC 37 Local 983 member Linda Mercer succumbed to 9/11-related breast cancer in her Queens home.
Mercer, an NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agent for 35 years, was assigned to Ground Zero in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, where she took part in the weighing and securing of dust-covered trucks emerging from the pit carrying debris to the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. Her prolonged exposure to the toxic air eventually led to her cancer diagnosis.
While suffering from the effects of cancer treatment, the mother of two relentlessly lobbied Mayor Billl de Blasio for unlimited sick leave for city employees suffering from 9/11-related diseases.
“We mourn this terrible loss to our DC 37 family,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “Linda was a relentless advocate for her fellow 9/11 Ground Zero city workers. She did it while suffering the effects of the deadly disease. We send our most profound condolences to her family and friends.”
Last October, de Blasio reached an agreement with DC 37 to provide unlimited sick leave to those workers, bringing them much-needed relief.