RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) personnel from across the commonwealth ran over 1,000 miles to honor the victims of 9/11 as the 20th anniversary of the attacks approaches.
“We have come together and initiated the inaugural Richmond 3,000,” said Stanley Meador, special agent in charge of the Richmond field office. “That is our division’s commitment to completing 3,000 laps around our FBI office here in Richmond.”
According to Meador, that goal is the equivalent of around 750 miles. And while much of that distance was run at the office in Richmond, Meador said personnel from Roanoke, Winchester, Bristol, Fredericksburg and Charlottesville have all logged miles on their own, chipping in to help them reach their goal.
For Meador, the run touched close to his own personal experience. In 2001, he was an Alcohol Beverage Control special agent in Virginia and like many law enforcement officers from across the commonwealth, was called to assist at the site of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
“The heat coming off of the site was intense,” Meador said. “It’s not something that’s easy to describe.”
Over a decade later, Meador said he, like so many firefighters and law enforcement agents who responded to the attack sites, was hit with a devastating diagnosis.
“In 2013 I was working at FBI headquarters, and on a normal day I felt a sharp pain in my side,” he said. A CT scan confirmed that he had a tumor and he was diagnosed with cancer. Because Meador was at the Pentagon in the weeks after the attack, he was connected with the World Trade Center Health Program.
The WTC Health Program is dedicated to helping those who were there during and after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
“I’m still dealing with it, I’m working towards remission and I got another month and a half to go,” he said. “I’m almost there.”
The office has now exceeded their original goal, passing 4,000 laps as the event comes to an end on Sep. 10 – over 1,000 miles to “recognize the almost 3,000 lives lost in those tragic moments.”
Mark Knoll, a supervisor special agent at the Richmond field office, said he hoped the event would help keep the tragedy in people’s minds, “We have a lot of employees here, and a lot of people in our community, that were very young when this happened. And that’s very important to me too, and to my own children, to keep the 9/11 discussion, the lost souls, the heroes, our own FBI family members that we have lost in a constant discussion in our lives.”
Kristin Elliot, a supervisory intelligence analyst, was in high school when the attacks happened.
She said she saw the event as bridging that divide, “I think it just shows that though we’re different, though we come from different backgrounds, different generations, this has been a really unifying event, and we can come together to do this.”