CRAVEN COUNTY - The night of September 11, 2001, Steven Centore of Trent Woods headed to Ground Zero.
"I got scared. I don't anybody who wouldn't be scared," said Centore.
Centore helped with cleaning up nuclear materials where the twin towers fell in New York City. He was protecting the health and safety of the public, which he says caused his own health to take a turn years later.
"I just went downhill from there. I had lost 40% of my lung capacity. I had to have my gallbladder removed and a liver transplant," said Centore.
Before the transplant, doctors gave Centore 24 hours to live if a donor was not found.
"Later that night, they told me a donor was found and if I was still alive by the next afternoon, they were going to perform the operation," said Centore.
A month after being released from the hospital, Centore began writing a book titled "One of Them: A First Responder's Story." He wrote the book to share with his family and to let others know they are not alone.
"It's not just you. There's a lot of us and it took me a long time to realize that this is not something to be ashamed of," said Centore.
The book details his life from his work at Ground Zero to his testimony before Congress about his illnesses. Through it all, Steven says he would do it over again.
"There's a lot of things I would do differently, but there's no doubt in my mind that if the country would have called, anybody would answer the call," said Centore.