Gladys M. Lee

1949 - 2015

On the morning of September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 were commandeered by terrorists and crashed into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Later that morning, both towers and surrounding buildings collapsed, sending a large cloud of toxic dust and smoldering debris through lower Manhattan.

Support Services Technician (SST) Gladys M. Lee was working in the New York Field Office on September 11, 2001, and returned the next day to ensure her vital work for the field office continued without interruption. Lee commuted through the impact zone on a regular basis without personal protective equipment to shield her from the toxic debris from Ground Zero.

Lee was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer in August 2014. By October, the cancer had metastasized to other parts of her body and, on December 6, 2015, Lee succumbed to the disease. Extensive research by the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health established sufficient evidence that Lee’s exposure to the air in and around the World Trade Center site either precipitated or accelerated her development of the disease.

Lee was born in 1949 in Pleasant Hill, North Carolina. She entered on duty with the FBI on January 20, 1998.