Updated: July 13 at 9:44 a.m.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Brady Bill Thursday.
Although the already won its long battle to get Paul Brady's name on the NYS Fallen Firefighters Memorial last month , the legislation created in honor of the fallen Malverne firefighter that Cuomo signed on July 12 will ensure that firefighters like Brady will never be denied the recognition they deserve.
The law, which takes effect immediately, expands the eligibility requirements for the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Albany. The wall will no longer be exclusively for firefighters who die as "a direct and proximate result of a line of duty injury," according to a release from Cuomo's office. But now any firefighter, paid or volunteer, who is killed while performing any services in the line of duty, like Brady, 42, -- who suffered a fatal injury in an accident in 2006 at the Malverne fire house while performing necessary maintenance work to a vehicle for a training exercise -- will also be included on the memorial wall.
"The Fallen Firefighters Memorial honors the lives of our state's bravest men and women who died while protecting others," Cuomo stated. "Every firefighter who has paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting their community deserves to be recognized for their courage and heroic service. This new law will ensure that New York State properly recognizes the extraordinary sacrifice of all firefighters who died while putting their lives on the line and that their memory is preserved forever."
The first time the Brady Bill came across Cuomo's desk in January 2012, he because the original wording created separate criteria for volunteer and professional firefighters.
However, Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) met with the governor to work out the issues and reintroduced an amended version in the Assembly, co-sponsored by Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook). It passed the assembly in early June and then the Senate soon after.
"I am greatly appreciative to Governor Cuomo and his counsels, who provided valuable assistance in ensuring these firefighters are recognized for their sacrifice," Weisenberg stated Thursday.
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Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos, who sponsored the Senate's version of the bill, said, "Our firefighters put their lives on the line each and every time they respond to a distress call. They all deserve our respect, and those that give their lives in the service of others while in the line of duty deserve to be included in a lasting memorial such as the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial."
He added, "Paul Brady was a hero and I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill."
In a statement released Friday, the Malverne Volunteer Fire Department, called the governor's signing of Brady Bill "the final step in reversing the irrational behavior on the part of the Memorial Selection Committee, which repeatedly denied the Malverne Fire Departments petitions to include Paul’s name on the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Albany."
The department also said the law "ensures this injustice will not be possible in the future, a true victory not only for the Malverne Fire Department and the Brady family, but for all those in the fire service in New York State. Biased behavior regarding this fine Memorial will no longer be tolerated or allowed, thanks to this legislation and the Governors support."
The Brady family joined the Malverne Fire Department in thanking Cuomo for signing the legislation and all of their supporters who fought this fight with them over the past several years including fellow fire service members, Malverne residents, elected officials, particularly Weisenberg and Skelos, and the law firm of Sokoloff and Stern, LLP, which took on their case pro-bono and won.
The Malverne Fire Department, which expects Brady's name will be added to the memorial during the annual recognization ceremony held in October, also stated, "While today's events unfortunately cannot return Paul to us or to the citizens of Malverne, it does offer Paul the honor and remembrance he deserves ... Rest In Peace, Firefighter Paul Ryan Brady."