Coming to the rescue of sick firefighters

Posted at 6:36 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 18:36:02-05

To many, it’s a firestorm of epic failure. Michigan’s heroes, fighting cancer, having their battle ignored because of politics.

After years of lobbying lawmakers, in January 2015, Governor Snyder signed a measure creating the First Responder Resumed Coverage Fund. 

For countless firefighters and their families, it was seen as a victory. But the celebration was short lived. 

While the measure was passed, elected leaders failed to fund it, leaving firefighters without coverage.

“Fifteen years to get this done, we thought we accomplished that.” said Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union President Mark Docherty. “It’s a broken promise to us. We thought our guys were going to be taken care of and they are not now.”

Since the fund was created, Docherty says 8 firefighters in Michigan have been diagnosed with some form of cancer. One of those, Doug Batty with Sterling Heights Fire Department. His claim was denied. 

“I talked to the adjuster with workman’s comp and she just kind of chuckled and said she was familiar with the law, without funding it really doesn’t mean anything.” 

It was a blow to Batty, his family and his entire brotherhood. 

“It was a shocker.  We worked so hard, we celebrated a victory and it was a false celebration.”

7 Action News is committed to helping our heroes. Join us as we tackle this problem from all angles in a week long special series.

In the meantime, you can support your first responders by contacting your elected leader.