Appleton police, fire get screened for cancer in U.S. veteran’s memory

The screening was inspired by the death of a police investigator last year who served in Iraq
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 6:35 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - More than a half million post-9/11 veterans have been diagnosed with cancer due to exposure to toxic burn pits in the Middle East. The disease took the life of Appleton police investigator Dominic Hall in September.

Four months later, the community is coming together to raise awareness and save veterans’ lives.

To honor Hall’s final mission, members and veterans of the Appleton police and fire departments came together to get early cancer screenings Monday.

In partnership with the HunterSeven Foundation, 13 of the 45 military veterans signed up to get their blood drawn, one of the final steps in honoring Hall’s final wish.

Chelsey Simoni, executive director of the HunterSeven Foundation, says since Hall’s passing she and her team are trying to find ways to save as many lives as possible and take care of his loved ones.

“I was so upset, and I said, ‘Dom, I’m mad for you.’ He said, “Chelsey, don’t be mad, because if my death can save somebody else’s life, I’m OK with that.’ And I was like, oh, my heart. Broke my heart,” Simoni told us.

Two weeks after Hall was laid to rest, veteran firefighter and Hall’s friend, Keegan Murphy, was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer.

Murphy says Hall’s death gave him strength, hope and purpose.

“One of the greatest ways to honor a friend, coworker or warrior that we have had the privilege of serving with is to never forget them and the sacrifices they made,” said Murphy.

Former coworkers say Hall was a servant of God who loved his country and his community.

“If through my suffering I can raise awareness to toxic exposures from overseas and can save another family and give their children another day with their dad, I am happy to suffer. If not me, then who?” Murphy said.

Early detection has led to better outcomes for those veterans who went in for early cancer screenings.