In the moments before he lashed out at Congress over their failure to ensure a 9/11 victims' compensation fund never runs out, comedian Jon Stewart received a incredible gift that brought him to tears.
Stewart was given a coat that belonged to Ray Pfeifer, a New York City firefighter who died in 2017 from cancer related to his work at Ground Zero. The two became close friends over the years while lobbying Congress for health benefits for 9/11 first responders and Stewart gave the eulogy at Pfeifer's funeral, according to AM New York.
Retired FDNY firefighter Kenny Specht presented Pfeifer's East Meadow Fire Department bunker coat on Tuesday to Stewart, before he testified at a Judiciary Committee hearing.
Specht explained that John Feal, another 9/11 first responder and advocate, bought the coat after Pfeifer's brother put it up at a charity auction and they wanted Stewart to have it.
A few of the FDNY firefighters signed the coat for Stewart as well.
"I don't deserve this, but I will treasure it, like I treasured Ray and our friendship," Stewart said as he choked back tears. "And all of you, we're going to do it today. Not just for Ray, but for all you guys and all the people he was fighting for. This is beautiful, thank you."
After the presentation, Stewart testified at the House Judiciary Committee Hearing and angrily called out lawmakers for failing to attend the hearing on a bill to ensure the victims' compensation fund can pay benefits for the next 70 years.
Firefighters, police and other first responders "did their jobs with courage, grace, tenacity and humility," Stewart testified. "Eighteen years later, do yours."
The committee unanimously passed a bill to permanently reauthorize the fund Wednesday, one day after Stewart's emotional testimony.