Cop from Hawthorne who died of cancer likely eligible for 9/11 fund, PBA says

By Hoa Nguyen Journal News

A Hawthorne man who died of esophageal cancer after serving nearly 30 years in the New York City Police Department likely will qualify for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, a union representative said.

“We’re going to put in for a line-of-duty death,” Joe Anthony, Bronx trustee for the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said of Nicholas Finelli.

Finelli, 60, a U.S. Army veteran and police officer assigned to the 43rd Precinct in the Bronx, died of cancer Saturday at his home. His doctors have said the illness was related to his work helping with the search and recovery effort at Ground Zero after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Anthony said.

“It’s 100 percent 9/11 related,” Anthony said. “It’s not your normal death.”

Esophageal cancer is on the list of health conditions the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have determined to be related to the September 11 recovery effort, likely making his relatives eligible for the compensation fund.

Many other first responders have died of similar health conditions, Anthony said.

“To me, the terrorists killed them, too,” Anthony said.

A year ago, Finelli was diagnosed with cancer — an illness that took his family by surprise because they said he always was health conscious and never drank or smoked.

“Nobody wants to face this; nobody wants to believe this could happen to them,” his widow Lucy Finelli said. “He was a very good man who this should never have happened to.”

Calling hours will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Hawthorne Funeral Home, 21 W. Stevens Ave.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne. Interment will be at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Mount Pleasant.

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