Everyday Heroes

9/11 Volunteer Remembered As Hero Who Made A Difference

Nick Ursta was a volunteer his entire life, working as a firefighter and EMT. His battle with mesothelioma has ended.

I'm sitting here sobbing. Nick Ursta is dead. His wife, Margaret, was holding his hand when he passed. They've been together since they were 15 years old. Nick turned 52 years old today. He died on his birthday. He died in his dream home. From the roof to the Pittsburgh Toilet in the basement. Everything brand new. Everything donated. Everything.

A Local ambulance company brought him home Friday night. We turned his big screen TV on for the first time. He squeezed my hand and said, Thank you Marty. It's beautiful. No way Nick. Thank you my brother. I whispered in his ear.

Here's the video of Nick's arrival and our last conversations:

I'm angry about all of this. Here's why. When Nick went to New York following 9/11...no one told him helping with the search and rescue would make him sick. More than ten thousand first responders and others who were at the World Trade Center site in 2001 have been diagnosed with cancer. Deaths from 9/11 diseases have surpassed the number who died that day.

Nick and Margaret share pictures of the rubble and debris at Ground Zero after 9/11.

Nick died from mesothelioma. Toxins from the 9/11 site got in his lungs and caused the cancer that killed him. He was on a list of first responders waiting to be compensated through some sort of protracted litigation. He never got more than 400 dollars a month in workers compensation.

Updating progress at the Ursta home, April 2019.

My 9/11 hero is dead. His amazing wife Margaret is now a widow. While I was on the phone with a funeral home asking about casket costs I was hit with a wave of emotions. I'm pissed off...and sobbing at the same time.

We will bury him. We will take care of Margaret. We will get over the righteous indignation and continue to make a difference here at Sparkt.

Margaret and Nick visit Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp, August 2019.

Nick Ursta is what Sparkt is all about. He was a volunteer his entire life. He made a difference.

We want you to remember Nick's example...and never forget.

We are working with Striffler's Funeral Home to take care of funeral arrangements. They have been amazing. The total cost for everything is nearly $10,000. Donations are being accepted by the following ways:

By Mail

Striffler's Funeral Home

1100 Lincoln Way

White Oak, PA 15131


Looking Back At The Ursta's Journey On Sparkt (Newest to Oldest below):

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