Perry Messick, the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Collingdale in Delaware, recently voiced his opinion on the results of a study, saying 9/11 first responders are at a higher risk of COVID-19 complications.
According to a report by CBS News, Pastor Messick lamented how the 9/11 attacks still affect those who were immediately on Ground Zero.
"The impacts of those attacks are still affecting people," Messick told CBS News.
The report said Messick served as Collingdale Fire Department's chaplain months following the brutal attacks on the Twin Towers.
The pastor reportedly helped first responders recover from the harrowing effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
He was also among those who braved the risks and helped save distraught New York residents near the World Trade Center.
Pastor Messick disclosed that his exposure to toxic chemicals on Ground Zero led to a form of skin cancer.
He explained that the different health problems caused by the first responders' exposure have led to numerous deaths higher than the actual fatalities on that day.
Also Read: Virginia Pastor Belinda Baugh Decries Racial Slurs Painted on Construction Site, Says 'Wickedness Not Welcome' in Neighborhood
Details of the Study
The same report said Pastor Messick led the community prayers at Rose Tree Park, where people from all over Delaware County gathered to honor the 9/11 victims.
Residents suffering from the effects of exposure to toxic chemicals in 9/11 attended the tribute held on Friday.
Dr. Benjamin Luft of the World Trade Center Health and Wellness Programs said they discovered that as much as 15% of the patients with 9/11-related illnesses also suffer from "long COVID."
The report disclosed that among the health issues 9/11 responders are dealing with are depression, lung disease, PTSD, and cancer.
The report revealed that patients with chronic illnesses caused by 9/11 exposure have a higher chance of experiencing long COVID and severe COVID.
The study involved 1,300 respondents who were all exposed to some form of toxic chemicals when they responded to the 9/11 attacks.
Aside from Pastor Messick, Detective Sgt. Joe Hackett also suffered from a 9/11-related illness called Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Doctors diagnosed him with the illness in 2016.
Hackett, who works at the District Attorney's office in Delaware County, told CBS News that he had contracted COVID-19 twice.
Fortunately, Hackett survived both bouts with the deadly virus.
However, Hackett disclosed that his 2016 diagnosis has "residual effects" until today.
The report said that the World Trade Center Health and Wellness Programs serve over 80,000 first responders, including Pastor Messick and Detective Sgt. Hackett.
About Pastor Messick
His Facebook profile said that Pastor Messick is a Senior Pastor at the First Baptist Church of Collingdale and Chaplain at the Collingdale Fire Company-Station 33, the Collingdale Police Department, and the Delaware County Lodge No. 27 FOP.
He is also an instructor for the Police Chaplain Program.
Messick, who is originally from Sharon Hill, now lives in Collingdale, Pa.
Related Article: Majority of US Protestant Pastors, Congregants Suffer From COVID-induced Mental Health Problems - Study