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Workers compensation claims can be complicated. One couple is working from personal experience to raise awareness about the extreme challenges facing volunteer firefighters injured on the job.
Art and Nancy Hudson were forced to hire a lawyer and endure several appeals over nearly 18 months after Art was denied compensation for medical bills due to him going into cardiac arrest while responding to a call.
The couple is now working with local representatives and taking their case to the New York State Court of Appeals in the hopes that no one has to go through what they have experienced.
“He said ‘oh, it’s a chimney fire,’” said Nancy Hudson of the night her husband Art was injured. “‘These things can get away from you. I better go,’ and indeed that night, it got away from all of us.”
She says she hopes their efforts, including working on legislation with Democratic State Senator John Mannion’s office, will make life easier for volunteers who are not retired like Art is, and will need compensation for wages at their primary jobs, in addition to medical bills.
“They could never wait the 17 months that we’ve waited,” she said.
As the clock continues to tick, she stresses that they intend to keep pushing, with those younger volunteers, the same ones who saved Art’s life, in mind.
“They are the ones that need credit for his life,” she said. “He’s doing this for them, because he doesn’t want them to have to go through this.”
Both bills are still in committee as the Hudsons await their appeal. They have contacted and met with other legislators in the area as well while gathering support from other organizations geared toward supporting firefighters.