Douglas Greenwood, a former captain with the NYPD, in charge of the officers at Ground Zero after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has died.
Greenwood was 61 years old. He sadly took his own life after battling lung disease for a long time. He went to the entrance of Greenlawn Park, and shot himself. The park is near his home in Suffolk County.
On 9/11, and the 40 days following it, he led the Manhattan South Task Force. Due to having to be constantly on the radio, he was not protected by his mask.
A colleague recalls how Greenwood could have conducted his job from a car, but he wanted to be on the ground with his men. He sorted through the rubble just like the rest of them. He worked tirelessly to help as much as humanly possible.
Greenwood’s friend, former detective Ralph Friedman said in an interview with the New York Post that Greenwood had been in charge of all the boots on the ground in the NYPD. He said that although his friend was taking command of the site, he pitched in on the hard stuff, too. The grunt work. And he paid for it with his health.
He was forced to leave his job on disability at the NYPD in 2003, after serving proudly for 26 years. His next step was to take over the popular and highly rated restaurant, Bleecker Street Pizza.
He took just as much pride in making pizzas as he did saving lives. He would sit in the dining room and pose as a customer so he could hear the honest talk about his food. His goal was to create pizzas as wonderful and true to how his Italian grandmother did it as possible.
For more than ten years, however, he’s been in constant pain. He even had to sleep in an oxygen tank for that duration. Friedman also said that Greenwood had been in constant, ever worsening pain, hurting just to breathe.
He talked of ending it all when his quality of life dwindled to almost nothing. Friedman also ascertained that he would not have taken his life if he had another option.
Long time friend, photographer Kevin McCormick, said That Greenwood talked about shooting himself for a while and he knew it would come to this eventually.
Many people suffered from lung illness after the attack on the World Trade Center. Even five months later, there was still dust from the destruction filling the air.
Due to the high incidence of health concerns following 9/11, an organization called the World Trade Center health program was begun to provide testing and treatment to those whose health was directly affected. Other programs were started as well. In 2011, the James Zagroda Act was passed, essentially consolidating all of them.
If you are ever faced with being suicidal, please don’t suffer in silence. Talk to someone you trust, let people help you. The suicide hotline number is 1-800-273-8255.
Today, we remember Douglas Greenwood. He was a hero during the worst days our country has ever seen, and he paid the ultimate price; losing his health and quality of life. Thank you for your service, rest in peace!
H/T – Source