Bob and Joan McCoy have lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado since 1951. Bob worked for 31 years for the local Harrison School District 2, starting as a woodshop teacher and ending as an assistant superintendent.
While they would like to be traveling to visit children and grandchildren in their retirement years, they instead are spending their days getting treatment for the advanced mesothelioma Bob developed as a result of exposure to asbestos.
"When you stop and think about your life, it's frightening," said McCoy, who oversaw the building of new schools in the Harrison district. "God, I didn't know sheet rock had asbestos in it."
Bob was reluctant at first to file a lawsuit to collect damages for his suffering and to help pay his medical bills, but he changed his mind when he started to understand the degree to which companies knowingly used asbestos even after it became well known that inhaled fibers could cause fatal diseases.
McCoy's lawsuit was settled last August, but so far only a few of the defendants have paid anything. Even though his condition has worsened to the point that his doctor has asked him to look into hospices in his area, he has decided to spend his remaining life essence fighting the Asbestos Trust Fund Bill, which would effectively negate any outstanding legal settlements, including Bob's.
Any settlement that has been made and has not been paid at the time, should the legislation be signed into law, would basically be tossed out. Bob believes that he and his family should be able to collect what has been promised by the court and by the corporations whose products gave him cancer. "There's no escaping it. I'm gonna die," he said. "I don't know what my life is worth, probably not a lot. But if I can't be around, I'd like to be able to leave my kids some money."