FBI Richmond’s Special Agent in Charge reflects on being a first responder on 9/11

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 6:16 PM EDT
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(WDBJ) - For so many of us, we saw 9/11 happen through our TV screens.

For Stanley Meador, it happened in front of his own eyes.

“Your badge, your title didn’t matter out there. What mattered is that we were all stepping up to what we had to do to move through the situation,” said Special Agent in Charge Stanley Meador.

That situation was directed toward protecting one of America’s most important buildings.

“I remember the radios lighting up with something at the Pentagon, a missile striking the pentagon so my coworkers and I responded moments later to the pentagon, and I remained there for the next 8 days,” said Meador.

At the time, Meador was working for the Virginia Department of ABC in the Alexandria office. Southwest Virginia, though, is where Meador’s roots are.

“I went to Galax High School, real proud of being from Galax. I did my freshman year at Ferrum college and then I transferred to Roanoke College where I majored in Criminal Justice.”

Meador had applied to the FBI in August of 2001, but he didn’t enter the academy until June of 2002. Meador routinely reflects on those 10 months.

“A couple weeks after 9/11 in 2001, I filed a workers compensation form because of what we worked through in the rubble pile, and I filed that form, I don’t know if you want to call it a feeling but I filed it because I feared we were going to get sick.”

12 years later that feeling rang true with a sharp pain in Meador’s lower side.

“I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer,” said Meador.

Surgery and chemotherapy kept things at bay, but three years later, a much larger tumor was found. That meant another surgery, and more chemo.

With the second onset, he began spending time reflecting on his experiences with 9/11 and the rubble he helped sift through. It led him to finding the World Trade Center Health Organization, and how many cancers had ties to 9/11.

He applied, and was accepted. Meador’s cancer was certified in 2017.

In 2016 when the tumor was found, Meador also had a busy home life. His daughter was one and his wife was seven months pregnant with their twin boys.

This October will make 5 years of remission for Meador and through it all, he never stepped away from the FBI.

“When you think about your bureau career what really moved you, it’s the length that people will go to step out and help.”

And it’s the support that makes Meador want to continue pushing forward now.

“What’s important to me is that people make a difference. Each day that we get up, each day we do something, be intentional, make a difference, whether it’s in the life of a child, a good deed that you’ve done for the day, make a difference,” said Meador.

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