48. Gerard DePascale & Liam Neville | The Long Island Press Power List

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48. Gerard DePascale & Liam Neville

Hicksville Nuclear Waste Site Whistleblowers

When Gerard DePascale and Liam Neville contracted rare, life-threatening diseases from unsuspectingly working atop a former nuclear waste site in Hicksville, they could have simply resigned themselves to their illnesses and given up. Instead, they sounded the alarm, speaking out about the dangers the underground chemicals still pose to the surrounding community, its residents, former co-workers and the countless children who visit Nassau County’s Cantiague Park. They filed a lawsuit alleging negligence by the site’s current owner, Verizon, and won—though a federal judge overturned the jury’s decision. Every step has been a tremendous struggle against immeasurable odds for these two, but they continue to fight, not just for justice for their families—but justice for the countless others affected, afflicted, and those who’ve even died because of the contamination. The pair embody true power: that which energizes and inspires others, that which strives to right a horrible wrong for the public good, and that which selflessly spreads hope in the relentless pursuit of the truth.