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consciousness@work 25 – February 2023
 
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As Survivors Speak their Truth,
Compassion Consciousness Rises

Written by: Carolyn V. Coarsey, Ph.D.

February 2023

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” -Albert Einstein

  There may be a dispute among experts as to whether Einstein said the exact words in the above quote, but there is little doubt that the famous physicist taught that a person’s thoughts about a situation directly influence how they will act—or react in a situation. At the Foundation, we believe that as responders become conscious of their power to help or harm a survivor in a traumatic situation in their workplace, compassion toward survivors is bound to increase.

 

February Anniversaries

    The month of February marked anniversary dates for three airline tragedies where lessons were learned from surviving passengers, families of victims, and employees who supported them. Survivors from each of these major events have shared their stories on video for the FAERF Institute’s Certificate in International-Humanitarian Assistance Response Programs, (I-HARP)™.


Families Need Information and Connection to the Company ASAP

    February 12, 2009, marked the fourteenth anniversary of Colgan/Continental Airlines Flight 3407 where fifty people died, including the resident of the home the aircraft crashed into. Family members, Scott and Terry Maurer lost their daughter Lorin (30 years old) in the crash. Kathy Johnston’s husband, Kevin (52 years old) perished, along with Tina Siniscalco’s sister, Mary Abraham (44 years old). All four of these family members have provided numerous examples of where company responders can help survivors of future tragedies.

     A LinkedIn post on the anniversary date shows all three of the family survivors of Flight 3407 emphasizing the need for the company to provide information as soon as possible, once a crisis is confirmed.

 

Scott Maurer “The most important thing for victims’ families is information.”

Terry Maurer “It (information) begins to build trust.”

Tina Siniscalco “I needed confirmation that my sister was on that flight.”

Kathy Johnston “Was my husband on the flight? No one seemed to know what to do with us.”

 

See more of their interview here.

 

A Unique Bond, a “Kinship of Sorrow” exists between Families and Employees

     Mrs. Linda Wiggs lost her son Christopher Bage Wells (13 years old), an unaccompanied minor traveling alone, when American Eagle Flight 3378 crashed at Raleigh Durham Airport, on February 19, 1988, killing all twelve people on board. The tragedy occurred prior to the formation of the American Airlines CARE Team, and it was twenty-eight years before Linda met American Airlines employees in the preparation of the memorial in Cary, North Carolina—near the crash site.

     Captain Warren “Dee” Sherrow (retired from JetBlue Airways), a pilot at that time for American Eagle, led the crash investigation and was personal friends with the crew on the flight. Captain Dee remained friends with the captain’s fiancé over the years. When he learned about young Bage traveling alone, he felt concerned over the fact that no support was offered to Linda or other survivors, as was the case in that era.

     As the video clip in the post on the thirty-fifth anniversary of the crash shows, Dee and Linda now share a special and unique bond that has greatly helped Linda in her recovery from the loss of Bage. It also helped Captain Dee to meet Linda and see how he could support her through the rest of her life.

 

Captain Dee “I now contact her every Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s …and February 19, the anniversary is coming up.

Linda Wiggs “I felt like I had a new lease on life.”

 

View more of the preview of their interview on the link

 

Tragedy can become an Opportunity for Personal Growth

     February 24th marked the thirty-fifth anniversary of United Airlines Flight 811. Shari Peterson was one of 337 passengers on board when the Boeing 747 experienced an emergency involving the cargo bin where nine passengers were ejected from the aircraft. Traveling alone, Shari hung on to her life and tried to assist fellow passengers until the aircraft landed in Honolulu, HI.

     The irony of Shari’s story involves seat duplication which was fairly common in the eighties. When Shari approached the seat, which matched her boarding pass, another passenger was already strapped in and refused to move. Taking another seat, as directed by the flight attendant, there are no words to describe Shari’s feelings when she realized her luck at not being in the originally-assigned seat—as the passenger in it was one of those ejected from the aircraft.

     Shari’s video clip in the anniversary post shows that this event greatly shaped how she lives her life today and how she “goes with the flow” as a result of what she learned from the accident. Shari provided many details about her story which is part of the I-HARP™ program.

     Shari Peterson “When you think you are going to die and you don’t, you come back with a different attitude about life and how to solve problems.”

 

More of Shari’s interview is featured on the anniversary link.

     

Watch for the announcement of the Introductory Course coming soon!

     

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