ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - As the nation prepares to remember the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a St. Lucie County deputy will join several hundred fellow members of law enforcement in a ride to honor the victims from that day.
Six years ago, after an injury kept her from running, St. Lucie County deputy Sooner Means bought a bicycle. She hasn't stopped riding since.
Trying to figure out what to do with this new hobby, a few years back a friend suggested that she take part in a tribute ride called the Tour De Force.
It was started in 2002 by a pair of New York City police officers on the first anniversary of 9/11 and has grown to more than 200 riders.
This year Deputy Means will take part in her third ride with the tour. "The mental part of it, it's pretty overwhelming," said Means.
The tour's mission is twofold; to honor the victims of 9/11, and to raise money for the families of police officers killed in the line of duty around the country. Each participant has to raise at least one-thousand dollars.
"This is just something I can do to feel like I'm part of the efforts to make a difference," added Deputy Means.
Means flies to New York Wednesday, and since her bike must also make the trip, she spent time Tuesday breaking it down for the flight. On Thursday, the tour riders will start at Ground Zero.
"We stop there and take a couple of minutes to reflect," said Means.
The 280 mile ride will end at Arlington National Cemetery on 9/11. Coming from Florida, Means has a new appreciation for what her fellow first responders did ten years ago.
"You go up there and you hear their stories from men and women who worked up there who worked in the cleanup for weeks and weeks afterwards."
Means plan to make the annual ride as long as she can.