'He Didn't Give Up Hope': Officer Who Died of Cancer After Helping on 9/11 Honored in Arlington - NBC4 Washington

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'He Didn't Give Up Hope': Officer Who Died of Cancer After Helping on 9/11 Honored in Arlington

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    Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on the ceremony honoring fallen Arlington County Police Officer Corporal Harvey Snook. (Published Wednesday, May 10, 2017)

    On the morning of September 11, 2001, Cpl. Harvey Snook and his best police buddy, Lowell Schuyler, were fishing next to the Pentagon at the Columbia Island Marina.

    At 9:37 a.m., they felt the once calm waters shake, and a dark plume of black smoke rose over the Pentagon.

    Snook and Schuyler immediately went to work. Without any protective gear to shield him from the harmful debris, Snook began searching for people and evidence. 

    On Wednesday, Schuyler watched as his friend's name was added to a memorial honoring officers killed in the line of duty. 

    Snook and Schuyler were both police officers in Arlington County when they were sent to the Pentagon to help with the aftermath of the attack. As Snook searched for people and evidence, Schuyler directed traffic nearby. 

    Later that night, Snook called his friend to tell him how the soles of his boots melted from walking through jet fuel and chemicals. 

    For the next few weeks, both men returned to the site, sifting through rubble for human remains. 

    Three years later, Schuyler was diagnosed with kidney cancer, and Snook was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Schuyler's cancer was operable; Snook's was not.

    "We didn't give up hope, and he didn't give up hope either until the very end," said Arlington County Police Officer Josh Staley.

    Snook died on Jan. 14, 2016.

    "Was he bitter about his duties? No. He's glad he was part of it. I was too because it's history," Schuyler siad. "I just wish he hadn't been taken so young."

    Doctors concluded that both men got their cancer from exposure to chemicals at the Pentagon, and Arlington County won approval for Snook's death to be declared a line of duty death. 

    On Wednesday, his friends and family gathered as his name was added to Police Memorial Wall of Valor in Arlington County. The county says it is the first time since the statue was dedicated in 2005 that a name has been added. 

    Schuyler, who retired in 2007, escorted Snook's mother as she received a memorial frame etched with her son's name.

    "I was proud that he was there helping them and this is what he loved to do. He said 'Mom I'm doing what I love to do' so I was proud of him, " Sandra Snook said.

    Snook, a 27-year veteran with the department, is the seventh person honored on the memorial.