Dan Moynihan has a lot to be thankful for. The former volunteer Freeport firefighter developed an acoustic neuroma, a rare but benign cranial tumor on the auditory nerve, after exposure to mounds of toxic chemicals from working at the World Trade Center rescue and recovery sites on and after Sept. 11, 2001. But several good Samaritans stepped in to provide medical care and the necessary equipment to help him recover some of his hearing.
“In 2007, there was this tiny little dot. In 2008, it grew larger, and in 2009, it was about the size of a walnut,” said Moynihan of the usually slow-growing tumor.
Following his surgery to remove the tumor in 2012, Moynihan lost the hearing in his right ear. Although his doctor forewarned him of the possibility of losing his hearing post surgery, it was still jarring when he did. “The hearing loss happened all at once,” said Moynihan. “There’s so much to do when you lose hearing on one ear. Besides that I have some damage to my left ear from four years in the military, and 19 years in the fire department.”
Moynihan, who grew up in Freeport, is in the business of saving lives. He joined Engine Company No. 1, at the Explorers, a junior fire department in Freeport as a teenager. As soon as he turned 18, he became a volunteer firefighter at the Freeport Fire Department, but left a year later after he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He rejoined the Freeport Fire Department at 22, following his return from the Marines, where he remained until he moved to Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, in 2003.
After the WTC attacks, Moynihan had to shelve his firefighter gear, because it was he who needed help for his 9-11-related health conditions. His dear friend, Karen Chambers, came to his aid after learning about his hearing loss, and introduced him to Dr. Alison Hoffmann. Hoffmann, an audiologist, and co-owner of the Advanced Hearing Center, jumped at the chance to help Moynihan restore his hearing. She took his case partly because several of her family members served as New York City firefighters, and she wanted to show her gratitude for his selfless service.