By Mike Kinney
The Richmond Fire Department held its annual 9/11 Memorial Run today in order to commemorate all of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.
Nineteen firefighters took part in the 3.5-mile run that began at the RFD Training Tower at South 33rd and Cutting Blvd. and made its way to the top of Point Richmond’s Nichol Knob.
After the run, a BBQ dinner awaited the runners. Members of both the Richmond fire and police departments joined the feast, which came courtesy of the Contra Costa Coalition on Health and Wellness.
Richmond Fire Chief Angel Martinez credited his department for holding “such a great tribute.”
The city’s firefighters “share in the worldwide grief” for the lives claimed when airplanes hijacked by terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and in a field in Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001, said Richmond Battalion Chief Victor Bontempo. The attack killed 2,507 civilians, 343 firefighters, 72 law enforcement officers and 55 military personnel.
“Their bravery will always be remembered,” Bontempo said. “We will never forget them.”
Bontempo said he remembers working on that day say to himself, “Please let me get on a plane so I can help in any way.”
“We were all scared and really didn’t understand the magnitude of what had just happened,” he said. “One thing we did know, is we all needed to be there, to do whatever was needed to assist our brothers and sisters in uniform. That’s what we do. That’s who we are supposed to be.”
Antwon Cloird, community activist and board member of the Contra Costa Coalition on Health and Wellness, said it was his organization’s honor to serve the city’s first responders today.
“We appreciate all the community service they do all year long and keeping our communities safe,” Cloird said.