Friday, November 20, 2009

Brace for Impact: Local crash survivors (Charlotte, NC) share what happened when they went home

Charlotte, NC - Thirteen lucky Charlotte NC survivors of the crash of
US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River, documented their
personal stories and lessons learned for a new book just published by
HCI titled Brace for Impact.

Barry Leonard of Charlotte, NC Story Title: The Heart of Gratitude

Summary: Suffered fractured sternum during crash and was hospitalized
for 3 days. Recently organized a thank-you luncheon for 70 New Jersey
first responders and staff at Palisades Medical Center on NJ shore of
Hudson who saved him.

Barry Leonard 212-213-8000

Jerry Shanko of Matthews, NC Story Title: Dreaming of Tomorrow

Summary: At rescue scene he kept saying he wanted to thank the pilot
for letting him know his baby. His wife was five months pregnant with
their first child and first grandchild on both families. Samantha was
born in May and Jerry dreams of her life he expected never to share.

Jerry Shanko 215-850-2548

Glenn Carlson of Charlotte, NC Story Title: Embracing Community

Summary: Social organizer of passenger group for email lists, Yahoo,
Facebook, reunions, etc. Also self-proclaimed 'class clown' with
offbeat humor, which helps keep the group together to share the
celebration and the upheaval.

Glenn Carlson 704-200-6629

Don Norton of Charlotte, NC Story Title: Respecting Your Fears

Summary: After a few post-crash flights he developed a morbid fear of
flying and has not flown since. Has immersed himself in this fear and
become student of plane crashes and plane safety. Also, sidebar in
book about his growing friendship with Darren Beck, who survived the
crash with him.

Don Norton 704-206-0697.

Gerry McNamara of Charlotte, NC Story Title: The Power of Story

Summary: He wrote a simple personal account of his crash for family
and friends that was then circulated through his firm and proceeded to
go viral across the Internet, winding up in Time magazine. He reflects
on how this unexpected public exposure continues to shape him.

Gerry McNamara 704-591-2881

Bill Elkin of Mooresville, NC Story Title: Awakening to Purpose

Summary: Swept up in gratitude and emotional upheaval, he searches
for a new sense of life purpose. As one answer he begins delivering
sermons at churches with this theme: Imagine You Had One Minute to Live

Bill Elkin 704-756-5509

Maryann Bruce of Cornelius, NC Story Title: Be the Survivor

Summary: She is the celebrated 'girl with nine lives.' This was #7
after surviving a tsunami, hurricane, earthquake, 1993 Trade Center
bomb, 9/11 on plane to Boston, etc.

Maryann Bruce 704-894-0580

Dave Sanderson of Charlotte, NC Story Title: Speaking from the Heart

Summary: After starting out with church talks about his experience as
a symbol of the possibilities of miracles, he has become a prolific
speaker now represented by Keppler Speakers Bureau. Story relates how
he speaks without notes and finds himself often in tears before,
during and after his talks at the memories of the crash and rescue,
the deeper spiritual meaning, and the poignant moments with those he
has reached.

Dave Sanderson 704-904-2233

Beth McHugh of Lake Wylie, SC Story Title: Hug Like You Mean It

Summary: In profound gratitude and stirred by the deepest hugs of her
life with her 3 adult daughters, she decided to hug everyone she met –
and still does. Story details memorable hugs and the spirit behind them.

Beth McHugh 704-965-5619.

Vicki Barnhardt of Huntersville, NC Story Title: Knowing When to Go Back

Summary: Returned to crash rescue scene on Hudson River in June as
part of her personal healing and had profound experience, riding NY
Waterway ferry and finding the dinner cruise ship where she was taken
by Coast Guard rescue boat to warm up.

Vicki Barnhardt 704-992-0000

Frank Scudere of Fort Mill, SC Story Title: Peace in the Silence

Summary: The crash was part of a triple-whammy. His father died 5
days after the crash and, after being spared from a layoff on the day
after the crash because of what happened, he is axed from his law firm
in March. He hit bottom, then found silent moments to being to heal
and slowly climb back up.

Frank Scudere 803-218-9572

Warren Holland of Charlotte, NC Story Title: Soldier of Faith

Summary: Ex-Marine officer who led combat missions in Desert Storm is
guided by his faith and heroes like Arland Williams, fellow Citadel
grad who gave up his life saving others after 1982 Potomac River crash.

Warren Holland 917-566-7782

Darren Beck of Charlotte, NC Story Title: Circle of Love

Summary: Father of 3 young sons takes vow to make family #1 after
crash and winds up taking son Tyler to Los Angeles where he is filming
a commercial as head of marketing for LendingTree.

Darren Beck 980-721-2083


"Brace for Impact." Three simple words that proclaimed to all 150
passengers on board US Airways Flight 1549 on that cold, crisp New
York afternoon of January 15 that their plane was about to go down in
the icy Hudson River.

We all know what happened next. The story of Captain "Sully"
Sullenberger's miraculous landing, the heroic acts of first
responders, and the images of 150 grateful souls stepping off those
water-coated wings to safety with nothing worse than soggy clothes and
minor injuries has touched the world.

But there is a different, more meaningful, and more timely story that
has yet to be fully told.

What happened to these passengers when they went home to their
families, their homes, their jobs, and everything else familiar but
somehow not the same?

What has been the real impact, not of a disastrous crash but instead
the gift of a "new" life?

What can any of us learn from the honest and open sharing of ordinary
people who came back from the brink of death?

Brace for Impact by Dorothy Firman and Kevin Quirk answers these
questions and more. This incredible book takes you inside the hearts,
minds, and souls of twenty-two passengers. The first-person stories
will shed light on the diverse, engaging experiences of what has
emerged since that day.