First responders attend Durham breakfast

DURHAM, N.C. -- First responders and the communities surrounding Durham gathered Thursday morning to attend the sixth annual First Responders Appreciation Breakfast at the Durham Convention Center.

The annual event is an opportunity for the community to say "thank you" for the commitment of the men and women who serve Durham and the surrounding areas. The breakfast celebrated and recognized first responders serving the City of Durham, Durham County, Duke University, North Carolina Central University, Durham Technical Community College, along with North Carolina State Highway Patrol - 15 divisions in total.

ABC11 is a proud media sponsor of the event that honors those who serve the community.

The breakfast's keynote speaker was Dan Pfeifer, who comes from a long line of first responders and was in NYC during the deadly terror attacks of 9/11. His late brother, Ray Pfeifer, was a dedicated first responder who spent months at Ground Zero, and now has a foundation established in his memory, the Ray Pfeifer Foundation. Ray, an NYC firefighter, died May 28, 2017, from cancer arising from 9/11.

According to the foundation's website, established in memory of Ray Pfeifer, is a charitable organization dedicated to assisting September 11th first responders, firefighters and police, with medical needs not covered by insurance.

"Ray never stopped putting the needs of others before his own," the Chamber of Commerce wrote in a public invitation. "He was a leading force in lobbying to extend the Zadroga Act through 2090, ensuring health care coverage for 75,000 people who need, or will need, treatment for health conditions developed as a direct result of 9/11 exposure."

18 years later since the attack on the World Trade Center, countless victims and first responders are still dying due to 9/11-related illnesses.

Every seat sold for the first responder breakfast will be sponsored.