First Baptist Church of Gillette will host Sept. 11 run, walk, ride and remembrance event

First Baptist Church of Gillette will host a 9.11 km Run/Walk/Ride/Remember event on Sept. 11. (First Baptist Church of Gillette)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — First Baptist Church of Gillette Pastor Donovan Voigt said his son Eli Voigt inspired him to honor first responders this year in a new way.

Eli, a U.S. Navy officer, told his father that he and a fellow Navy officer on Sept. 11, 2021, would row 9,000 meters on a row machine and run 11 miles on the deck of the ship they were deployed on in the South China Sea.

“It felt like he was so far away from us, and I was very proud of him, so to help me feel like he was closer to home, I ran 9.11 miles on the morning of 9-11,” Voigt said.

Voigt said while doing the run, he decided it would be a good idea to make Sept. 11, 2022, a community run/walk event to support emergency responders. As Sept. 11, 2022, is a Sunday, it seemed like the perfect time to implement the idea, Voigt said.

The 9.11KM RUN/WALK/RIDE/REMEMBER event begins at 7 a.m. at Gillette First Baptist Church, 501 S. Gillette Ave., Gillette.

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Campbell County first responders are partnering with the church for the event, he said.

Campbell County Fire Chief Jeff Bender, Sheriff Scott Matheny and Health – EMS Manager Shawna Cochran will speak at the event’s memorial/worship service at 10 a.m., Voigt said. Diana Enzi, the wife of the late U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, has been asked to give a reflection as well, as the senator was in office in Washington, D.C., during the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Voigt intends to speak as well. The fire department will also have a bell service. There may also be a representative of the Gillette Police Department. There will also be a luncheon.

But before those parts of the event occur, community members can run or walk 9.11 kilometers, which is about 5.7 miles. If they prefer to travel a shorter distance, there are two alternative route: one of a little over a mile and one that’s about 2 and one-half miles. Each course includes Lasting Legacy Park, 500 S. Gillette Ave., and the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery, 804 S Emerson Ave. There will be route markers and volunteers stationed at turns to guide the runners, walkers and riders.

Community members can also help register participants, hand out water and snacks, help with the luncheon and cheer people on.

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While there’s no cost to participate, those running, walking or riding the course are asked to register via the church’s webpage for the event. Free will donations will go to help Campbell County community emergency first responders, Voigt said. Community members can make donations through this website.

Day-of registration is the back-up option. Registration is at Gillette First Baptist Church at 7 a.m. Walkers of the 9.11 km begin at 7:30 a.m., Voigt said. Those running or riding the 9.11 km or walking a shorter distance start at 8 a.m. Dogs on leashes are welcome on the course and at the service. “Riders” can use non-motorized vehicles, such as bikes.

Voigt recommends people who attend the service after the community walk/run bring a blanket or chairs to sit on. The service will be held outside the church. Gillette Ave will be blocked off between Fifth Ave and Sixth Avenue.

Eli is still in the military but is not currently deployed, Voigt said.