A Maryland firefighter ran the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday with 60 pounds of gear on her body and a friend's memory in her heart.
Daniela Bigott, who works for the Montgomery County Fire Department and volunteers at the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, ran the race in full gear in memory of a fellow firefighter, who was killed in Iraq.
Army Spc. Thomas Joseph Barbieri II, known to friends as TJ, died Aug. 23, 2006 during combat operations in Baghdad. The Gaithersburg, Maryland, native who volunteered for the Rockville fire department was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was 24.
Bigott lost a colleague and friend.
"We will always remember TJ," she said, remembering Barbieri's intelligence and wit. "He will always have a very special place in our heart."
Family members and other friends of the Wootton High School graduate ran alongside Bigott. This marks the ninth year Team TJ, as they call themselves, has participated.
As the only Team TJ member in full fire gear, Bigott told News4 on Tuesday she would run all 26.2 miles with Barbieri in mind.
"I'll reflect on his courage, on his strength, on his honor," she said. "I'll reflect on what he did for us, for our county and what he did for our freedom."