NORTON — As Norton Police Chief James Lane continues his recuperation, organizations and the public keep remembering what happened to him just over a year ago.
Lane received his latest recognition Saturday from the nonprofit organization Running 4 Heroes. Its founder, 13-year-old Zechariah Cartledge, presented Lane with a $10,000 check to help with expenses as the chief continues his recovery from his May 2021 line-of-duty shooting.
Cartledge organizes fundraisers to help first responders and their families after the injury or death of a responder in the line of duty.
Coeburn Police Chief Scott Brooks, who nominated Lane for the Running 4 Heroes grant and who also worked with Lane, cited the chief’s “great sacrifices” in recovering from the shooting and working his way back to return to duty.
“James hopefully will be back soon because we miss him,” said Brooks, “and his department misses him and we’re all so excited for him to recover.”
“Whenever an officer or a firefighter dies in the United States of America, I run a mile in their honor,” Cartledge told the approximately 40 people at Saturday’s ceremony. “Along with that we also give out $10,000 checks to those first responders.”
Lane is Running 4 Heroes’ 33rd grant recipient as the organization marks a total of $287,000 in awards.
“I can’t say enough, not because of what happened here, but what I’ve learned over the nine months since you were here about Running 4 Heroes,” Lane said to Cartledge. “It’s remarkable that a 13-year-old young man and his family took this on and from what I understand not from a family of first responders.
“Anytime we hear some negativity for our younger generation, we’ve got this young man and many more out here who prove that wrong and show us that there is great youth coming up that are going to run our country and community,” Lane said, adding his thanks to Cartledge and his family for their work.
Saturday was a dual-purpose event to honor Bibb County, Alabama, Deputy Brad Johnson and draw public awareness to a campaign to raise a grant to help Johnson’s two children.
Johnson died Thursday after a June 29 shooting while he tried to arrest a state prison escapee.
Cartledge said the recent shooting of seven Floyd County, Kentucky, officers, including the killing of two Prestonsburg police officers and a Floyd County sheriff’s deputy, reinforced Running 4 Heroes’ mission to support first responders.
Cartledge said he decided to start Running 4 Heroes three years ago after a run in Florida where participants each wore a badge with the name of a first responder to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He said he honored that officer during a year of runs and realized that his mile count from races equaled the number of first responders killed during 9-11.
“I’ve been inspired by other organizations because I’ve been doing 5K’s since I was 5 or 6 years old,” Cartledge said.
Cartledge said Lane’s recognition followed a presentation last year for Coeburn police officer and Norton Fire Department firefighter Robert Potter, who was injured in 2021 while arresting a suspect.
Potter was among those who joined Cartledge for a mile run along Park Avenue.
“Chief Lane has been a mentor to me,” Potter said later. “He got me started at the young age of 13 to join the Police Explorers. I look to Chief Lane for many reasons, and recently we looked to each other to keep fighting on and push forward.”