The Daily Reflector
By Jane Dail
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Community leaders, elected officials, law enforcement, first responders and many others met to focus on the American Red Cross and listen to the powerful story of a special guest who needed its assistance at a desperate time.
Members and supporters of the Red Cross gathered at the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU to kick off the annual Heroes Campaign, a grassroots fundraising and awareness raising effort held every March, which is Red Cross Month.
Dave Sanderson spoke about his experience being the last passenger off U.S. Airways 1549, the Miracle on the Hudson flight in which all 155 passengers aboard survived a crashing into the Hudson River in 2009. He shared with the audience how the Red Cross helped him when he needed it most.
“About 60 seconds after we took off is when I heard the explosion,” he said. “It was a loud explosion. I’ve never heard anything on a plane like that before, so it definitely got my attention. I looked out the wing, and I saw fire coming out from underneath the left wing, so I knew something had happened.”
Sanderson recalled how people scrambled yet worked together during that hectic time. He made sure everyone was off the plane and was the last to leave in the 24 minutes before the plane sank into the frigid water.
“You can discard what a miracle is all you want, but to have somebody to rescue you after a plane crashed in ice-cold water, that’s a miracle,” he said.
By the time Sanderson escaped from the cabin onto the wing, others already were rescued and on their way to land.
“There are a lot of people that helped a lot of people that day, but only two groups that touched every one of us, the New York Waterways, the ferries, and the Red Cross of both New York and New Jersey side,” Sanderson said.
ECU sophomore Taylor Waters also shared how the Red Cross helped her loved ones at a critical time.
“My journey with the Red Cross started in January 2010 when my grandma’s house burned down and I saw the assistance that they gave to her,” Waters said. “The Red Cross was there and gave her that rock that I couldn’t be. Not only did they give her financial assistance to be able to move forward to the next day, having food and clothing, they gave her hope. Hope is something she needed so badly at that time.”
Waters is president of the Red Cross chapter at ECU and recently was awarded the TeenNick Halo Award, which earned the Red Cross a $10,000 donation.
“In the spring of 2011, a tornado hit my hometown of Sanford,” she said. “Again, I saw the amazing assistance the Red Cross can give, and it’s amazing to see it being your neighbors and people that you know. I thank you all for being here today and working with the Heroes campaign because it’s going to help this community in amazing ways that you may not be able to see, but I can tell you from personal experience that it’s going to change lives.”
Karen Herman, chairwoman for the Heroes Campaign, said in 2012 the Red Cross helped disaster victims in eastern North Carolina.
“This organization is with us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days out of the year, regardless of what’s going on,” Herman said. “When disaster strikes, the Red Cross will be there for each of us — our families, our friends and our community.”
Sanderson said although he never expected to need the Red Cross, he forever will be thankful.
“I never thought I’d need the Red Cross,” he said. “Life was pretty good … then in 14 hours I had three Red Cross experiences. You never know when it’s going to happen to you.”
Contact Jane Dail at email@example.com or 252-329-9585.
via The Daily Reflector.