Aviation Safety Legislation
The Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 (PL 111-216) was signed into law on August 1, 2010. For a summary of the provisions included in this new law, please click here.
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To all those in the aviation industry and those in our government in charge with regulating it:
On February 12th, 2009, Continental Flight #3407 crashed in Clarence Center, New York, robbing us of our beloved fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fiancées, family members, dear friends, and co-workers. While on paper only fifty lives were lost, in reality, a part of so many more people died on that cold wintry night in Clarence, New York.
In the aftermath of this tragedy, we have begun to learn so much more about aviation vocabulary (i.e. stall speed, stick shaker, and pneumatic boots) as well as so many others terms we wish never had to come into our lives. We have also learned more about the aviation industry in general; positive news such as statistical progress in making air travel safer, but also chilling realizations that air safety is not often a first priority. We, the families, have discovered that often a value is placed on human lives. That value is compared to the cost of making safety improvements. Sadly, if the costs of those improvements amount to too high of a bottom line, those advances are often put on the backburner.
As the investigation into our crash moves forward, we resolve to do everything we can to make sure that no other family ever has to suffer through the pain and suffering that we have endured. We are asking for your support in helping us achieve these goals. It is our hope that all air travelers can travel safely and continue to enjoy the American Dreams of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ that was so tragically taken from our loved ones.
As you move forward and are faced with issues regarding aviation safety, please consider the testimonials below. We hope that you will come to realize the value of our loved ones lives, lost on Continental Flight #3407, transcend any dollar amount, and that this crash did not affect a mere fifty people; instead it took a precious toll on thousands. It is a toll that will not last merely days, weeks, months, or even years; it will be a part of us forever…our lifetimes.
To read the testimonials in honor of those lost, please click on a name below or scroll through the entire page:
“Mary Julia Abraham was the youngest sibling in our family, she was 44. Mary is survived by her parents, brother and two sisters. However, our family wasn't all Mary had. She considered her co-workers and business associates family as well, a second family. Mary worked for Invacare Corporation for 11 years where she worked diligently to make her mark, and boy did she ever! Our family learned just how much Mary meant to Invacare when they held an additional memorial service in her honor. Co-workers and friends shared their memories and impressions that Mary had left on them.
Mary also served in the Army Reserves for 22 years where she excelled to become First Sergeant. She was so proud and dedicated to be serving her country. Mary was the epitome of a true patriot.
Mary had many passions in life. Rescuing greyhounds topped the list. Her dogs were her companions, her children and her friends. Mary also had a passion for letting loose on the open road. On her 40th birthday she bought herself a motorcycle and joined a woman's motorcycle club, the Motor Maids. Golfing and fishing were two of Mary's other hobbies which she would travel to various states around the country to take part in. Finally, Mary loved to take on projects. She recently bought an older house down from our parents that she completely renovated herself with the help of our family. Mary truly believed she could take on any task and never let anything defeat her.
To say the least, Mary was a very passionate person. She stood up for what she believed in and she made everyone else believe too. Mary greeted everyone she met with a smile and people couldn't help but want to get to know her and be her friend. She was always and unconditionally selfless, caring, loving and full of life.
We as sisters, (known as #1, #2 and #3) shared our challenges, trials and love for each other each day. For us, Mary was the one with the answers. She talked us through our problems and was always there for support. We as "the sisters" would go on trips, shopping sprees and have "sisters' nights." Two years ago, we all even had the opportunity to go on a cruise. On February 8, the day before Mary's 44th birthday, we all celebrated together, not knowing it would be the last time. These are the memories we will never forget. These are the memories that will stay in our hearts forever. Although we live now with a whole in our heart, Mary will never be forgotten and we will continue our traditions knowing her spirit is always near. “
Ruthann Stillwell and Tina Siniscalco - Sisters of Mary Abraham
“On February 12th my family was making preparations to embark on a five day cruise, a trip we had accumulated funds for and were planning on taking upon my request before I moved away for college next fall. Our suitcases were packed at the door and I also had received a letter that morning I was the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship I was capable of informing my father about the last time I was ever able to speak with him. That night my mother headed to the airport and it was waiting at home I received a phone call saying my father, David Borner, was a confirmed passenger on the flight.
I hit my knees knowing that my life had just been drastically altered in a matter of seconds, in one night, one flight and one call. My father would not be there to sit in the crowd for my valedictory address at graduation, or be there when I step on the field to play soccer for the first time in college. My visions of my wedding crumbled into a million pieces because he would not be there to escort me down the aisle. There would be no more soccer or camping trips similar to those of my childhood. I would never again be able to see my parents together, for that one last kiss, safe in each other’s arms. My children will never know the man that shaped my life, made me who I am today, my father, but also my best friend. I hope that through me they will be able to see a little of that man, who I am proud to call my father.
I cannot thank God enough for those seventeen and half unforgettable and amazing years with my father. To say he was a character would be a prodigious understatement. His jokes, personality, and laughter could illuminate a room and for this he is held in all of our hearts. However, when he was not ridiculing and making a humorous scene, he was almost always acting for others. Besides laughing at his own jokes, I have never seen him happier than when he was taking my brother hunting, watching me play soccer, or about to take my mother on an amazing date. There wasn’t a moment I couldn’t speak with my father and get the most sincere advice. He loved to cook and then jokingly boast about such and the wheels he had on the softball field; I never did beat him in a race. The morals that he has instilled within me I will forever carry through my life and dad, you have been my angel since the day I was born.
I hope as I proceed through life, I will be capable of emulating what God and my father had hoped. Dad, I will forever live for you, and in your memory. I wish I had the opportunity to express my appreciation for what you have done for me. You have been a teacher of love to me, your parents, your brothers and sisters, your son and especially your wife and my mother. We miss you and can’t wait till the day we can see you again. I am forever and always your sweet pea and little girl.”
Nicole Borner - Daughter of David Borner
My Twin Brother Sister
"A silly song. We made it up one day when we were 8 and 9. Beverly: a year, a week, and a day younger than me. She wore my hand- me- downs, which were first hand- me -downs to me, from my slightly older sister Susan. But on this day, we both picked out two identical outfits to wear from our shared bureau. We looked in the mirror, locked arms, giggled and began to sing this silly made- up song “We’re the twin brother-sisters”. We even have a photo of that moment.
Growing up, I can’t remember a time without Beverly. We shared the same friends, and celebrated our shared birthdays in the same month. We had identical bikes. We roller skated together, built forts in the fields and tree houses together, sang songs, and talked until we fell asleep in our shared bedroom.
Beverly the writer: she wrote a book while in fourth grade about our family adventures one summer in our new house, in a new subdivision, with still country fields and woods to explore. Beverly the artist: painter, potter, supreme home decorator.
We grew up. Our sharing matured: books, plays, music, writers, ideas and fun. We played guitars together, sang together. Beverly always stretched for the stars; learned to tap dance, to sail, to kayak, to ski, yes, even to write Rap songs.
Beverly wrote and performed an original song for each of our milestone birthdays: In silliness, she made up a “Dirge” to sing for her beloved Sean, on his 50th birthday, gently mocking him growing old. Seven months later, he was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center, but not before they were able to say good bye to each other on the phone, connected until the tower came crashing down.
Beverly gave us joy and adventure. Her indomitable spirit poured into holidays, visits, vacations and fun together. When the towers came down, and Sean died with them, she was moved to action, in his name. With steely determination she demanded of our government a commission to investigate why this happened, and worked tirelessly for 6 years to make sure that change was in place to protect us all so that this could not happen again. Her goal: So that someone else’s Sean would not leave one morning for work and never come home again.
Beverly, we miss you. Your eyes still sparkle for us, your smile is bright. It is now in our memories, and our photos. You may be a bright star in the night sky, but you will always be with us, our sister. And always and forever, my twin-brother sister."
- Karen Eckert, sister of Beverly Eckert
"My sister Beverly loved to play Scrabble. When my husband and I would visit her, we would have to play Scrabble every day. When she came to visit us, it was the same thing. And she was a very good player. Nearly every game, she would find a way to use all seven of her letters to make a word.
Not that she was the only one in the family who was really into Scrabble. Our mother also loved to play, and enjoyed the game right up until her death in May 2008. For one of her birthdays, Beverly made our mother placemats made from pictures taken of a Scrabble board where the words were arranged to wish her happy birthday. And at our mother’s memorial, Beverly gave each of us a wooden tray from the game, to which she glued letter tiles spelling out “Mom” or “ Grandma”. It was a fitting remembrance.
Shortly after the crash, I followed Beverly’s lead, and did the same in her memory. I glued tiles from the game to wooden trays, spelling “Beverly” on each and gave them to family members. We keep these mementos with our own Scrabble game now, and when we play, we place the trays with their names near the game board, a reminder of the enjoyment we all once had."
"Sometimes I think Beverly had too much time on her hands. Knowing her, that is difficult to imagine, yet whenever a milestone birthday or anniversary drew near, she made the event unforgettable. She wrote poetry, she wrote rap songs, she made up games. But it didn’t end there. She performed them! For a poem written for one of Karen’s birthdays – “Ode to Karen”, she wore a toga, had fig leaves in her hair, and performed it in the manner of a Shakespearean actor. For Ray’s birthday, she performed a rap song she wrote, as she also did for our 25th wedding anniversary. The last stanza of that song is poignant:
Now Bill and Sue be married for long long time
And I thought I’d celebrate by making up this rhyme
So here’s to marriage, here’s to love and here’s to family
And I’ll end it by saying Happy Anniversary!
At the end of November 2008, our family gathered again to celebrate another milestone birthday – mine. Beverly went all out. All we were told was to wear a white sweater or T shirt. When we arrived, everyone was given a Mickey Mouse Club logo to pin on their shirt and Mickey Mouse ears. With me sitting in the family room of Karen’s house, everyone marched in as Mousekateers, singing “Today is Sue’s day” to the tune of “ Today is Tuesday”. We all knew the song having heard it countless times when we were children. She rewrote the words to make them appropriate for the day. That was the last event that she planned.
In September of this year, our brother Ray had a milestone birthday. It was our first one without Beverly. I think she would have been proud of our efforts to make it special. There was no song, but we did some pretty clever things. We are ever grateful to her for the memories she gave us of our special days. They are priceless."
- Susan Bourque, sister of Beverly Eckert
"Friday, August 4th of 2000, Sue and I stood at the stern of the Staten Island Ferry. Beverly was at our side. She had arranged this outing- as she had arranged so many adventures in the past. We had been sightseeing in the city and decided to view lower Manhattan from the best possible angle. That meant a trip on the ferry. As we drew away from the impressive skyline, we waved at the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Beverly had called Sean at work to have him wave at us. And, although we couldn’t see him, we knew he could see us- looking from his crow’s nest in a tower that reflected the clear blue sky of that warm summer day.
Little more than a year later, Beverly was on the phone with Sean again. It was another clear blue sky – severe clear- in pilot lingo. But this Tuesday morning the tower was on fire. Sean was fighting the effects of intense heat and smoke inhalation. He had passed out trying to find an escape route around the burning jet fuel below him and, once recovered, had made his way to the top of WTC2. He had some hope of rescue from the roof. He found the door to the roof sealed; a “safety” measure devised by the best minds of the New York Port Authority. When he was able to reach Bev again, they both realized and accepted the inevitable. Beverly was watching TV. She told Sean that probably there was no way he could be rescued. Bev would later cry when she spoke of Sean’s “incredible bravery” during that last conversation. They spoke of their love for each other. They said their goodbyes. And Beverly heard a ‘whoosh” on the phone as she watched the TV. The South Tower was collapsing. Her life, and ours, were changed forever.
By the end of that terrible day, Beverly was already back in Buffalo. We gathered our families together and tried to comfort each other. We were numbed by the sudden and violent loss of our beloved Sean. We were shocked and confused. Ironically, that condition would be experienced by the pilot and co-pilot of Beverly’s fatal flight seven plus years later. Our shock and confusion, however, were not self-inflicted, and there was nothing we could do to change things, but what was amazing to me was the transition in Beverly’s focus. She almost immediately set out to create what would become “ Voices of September 11th”. Despite her own pain, she reached out to the families of other victims and, because of her background as an executive in the world of Insurance and Risk Analysis, provided practical information to help them sort through their options and rebuild their lives.
She was not content to stop there. She was concerned about the conditions surrounding 9/11; cockpit security, the facility with which suspected terrorists were granted visas in Saudi Arabia, the difficulty first responders had communicating with each other, skyscraper safety etc. When other victim’s families were pressured to accept compensation in lieu of pursuing litigation, Beverly said – and we hear her still – MY SILENCE CANNOT BE BOUGHT! It was in this spirit that she and other members o the 9/11 Family Steering Committee pushed for the eventual creation of the 9/11 Commission. It meant pounding the halls of Congress, buttonholing Senators and Representatives, traveling to Washington countless times to attend hearings. She did this tirelessly and diplomatically. Her persistent encouragement won over the reluctant and the intransigent. She was one of the best citizens this nation ever had. We all owe her a debt of gratitude.
But aside from the public Beverly, we remember other things too. She was a spirit that trod this earth lightly. She was not burdened by the internal turmoil that hobbles so many of us. She had many friends because she genuinely understood the worth of each of us. That’s why she worked in a soup kitchen, she built homes with Habitat for Humanity, she purchased gloves, hats, and sleeping bags for the homeless and passed them out in the cold of winter, she volunteered to tutor reading to students at a neighborhood school . She was deeply INVOLVED in the lives of her nephews and niece. There is so much more. We remember her voice and her laughter.
We love you Beverly. Thank you for making us so much a part of your life."
- Bill Bourque , brother-in-law of Beverly Eckert
For a video tribute to Beverly Eckert, please Click Here.
"My brother John and I lived together for the last three years, and during that time our mother had become very ill. John and I decided it would be best to have her come live with us so we could provide the care she needed. It was a very difficult time for our family, but John was constantly by her side, helping any way he could.
After her passing my brother and I would talk about all the things she had done for us throughout our lives. My brother and I would talk every morning and every evening. Sometimes it would just be a few words and sometimes it was a in-depth conversation, but he was always there to listen.
The most difficult thing for me in his passing is that I won't be able see him walk into the house with that devilish smile on his face or be able to talk to him in the evening or give him a kiss goodbye.
John was a happy and gentle soul. He was the type of person who would help anyone that needed it. It didn't matter if it was putting a roof on a friend's house or helping to raise money for one of the many organizations he belonged to. He was always there for anyone that needed him.
This tragedy has devastated our family, as I know it has for all the families. There is a huge hole in my heart that will never be filled, I will miss him forever."
- Sandy Aughtmon, sister of John Fiore
"Hello. I'm Chelsey Hartman, John Fiore's granddaughter. I'm eleven years old, and in 6Th grade. 3407 had a huge influence on my life. It caused me a great deal of sorrow, because of this I keep thinking of things he'll never be able to be a part of in my life. Now my grandfather won't be around to watch me graduate high school, or he wont be there to walk me down the aisle. I will miss his sarcastic funny ways. Now who's going to help me take the skins off the cucumbers so the salad is right?
I'm writing you this so you know my grandfather wasn't just a face who was on the plane; he was a laughing, living, and caring human being who's life was taken away in a horrible tragedy . Every night I go to sleep dreaming about how much things we COULD of done, and how much things we WOULD of done. Just regretting all of the things we didn't do together that we could. Now that he is gone its just too late, I have a lot of memories with my grandpa like him taking me to the Erie County fair and riding the elephant with me. My grandpa was a caring person, who was always there to help. He was so caring, when I was playing baseball he helped the kid on the OTHER team how to bat. He never missed one game. I'll really miss him. I hope the FAA can do WHATEVER they can in their power to make sure it never happens again. Nobody should ever go through as much pain and sorrow as my family and the other victims family's went through."
Chelsey Hartman - Granddaughter of John Fiore
My daddy met his Lord the night of February 12 when flight 3407 went down only a couple of miles from my families’ home in Clarence. Earlier that night my husband and I celebrated Valentines Day because our weekend was going to be crazy. We got home early and I remember falling asleep on the sofa, however, around 10:20 pm I suddenly woke up. I was only awake for a few minutes then went soundly to sleep in my bed until early the next morning. I did not realize until the next morning that what I felt was the exact moment my father left his earthly home to go to his eternal home. My husband and I received a call from my mother at 2:37am informing us of the devastating reality that my daddy’s plane had crashed. In that instant my life changed forever.
"My daddy was an amazing man. He loved his family so much and provided for us in so many ways. He was a man of faith and loved his Lord. Though he was a quiet man he impacted his world more than he ever knew.
My father was a competitive business man who worked for Kraft foods. His colleagues and team lost a dedicated, honest and brilliant leader. He touched so many lives and inspired the men and woman who worked with him to reach for their dreams.
My brother, Brad Jr. has lost his role model, mentor, and best friend. My dad called Brad Jr. his “Buddy” or “Tiger” My father was always there for his son and loved him no matter what. They hunted and went fishing together and I know these were cherished times for them both. They also loved working on cars together and fixing up their Corvettes. Many mornings they would also eat breakfast together and talk about life.
I am and will always be Daddy’s little girl. He affectionately called me “Pumpkin” and “Stinky”. No matter what my father was always there for me. He was the wind beneath my singing endeavors. He was “Mr. Fix It “helping to make my husband’s and my house a home. My father was also quite the “Food Dude”. He fostered my love of cooking and I will certainly miss cooking with him. One of my most recent memories of him was of him getting on his knees praying for all of us.
Who my heart aches for the most, is my mother. She lost her rock, best friend, partner … her “Mr. Wonderful” as she often called him. They did everything together be it yard work, shopping, going to church or sitting in the parking lot behind Tom Horton’s drinking coffee and eating cinnamon Tim Bits, watching cars run through the stop signs. Being together was all that mattered. They had so many dreams and plans for the future as retirement was close at hand. There were hopes of service projects and some much deserved relaxation.
My family and I lost my father due to a horrific tragedy that could possibly have been prevented. If there are further precautions to ensure safer aviation in this country I hope we can trust the powers that be to do anything in their power to ensure catastrophes like this never happen again."
Jennifer Green Quimby - Daughter of Brad Green
Zhaofang Guo (Larry)
"Larry (Zhaofang) Guo was returning from a 3 week vacation in China when the plane crashed and took his life. He was in China visiting his parents, sister and nephew. He was very excited about this trip as he would be in China for Chinese New Year for the first time in about 20 years. Before he left, Larry reminisced about the wonderful New Year's celebrations and fireworks of his childhood that he couldn't wait to take part in again.
Larry was 53 years old and an employee at Buffalo Stamping Plant since the mid 90's. He is leaving behind his wife, Ping and his 15 year old son, Kevin. Larry was a very kind, caring and generous person who was always willing to help anyone who needed it. He was a devoted husband, proud father and a proud American. Larry came to the US more than 20 years ago with his wife and only $40 dollars in his pocket. From there he went on to receive his masters degree in Electrical Engineering in Louisiana. He also lived in New Jersey before settling in Western New York. He loved Buffalo and especially Williamsville where he and his family resided.
Simply put, people just loved Larry. He was such a kind person, so patient with everyone. No matter how many times me or anyone else asked him the same questions, he never minded. When I think of him, the word that most comes to mind is "genuine". He truly cared about people and would do whatever he could to help out. I could tell that he was so happy with his life and proud of his family by the way he spoke. It makes me so sad to think of his horrible tragedy that took him away from this earth so early."
Cheryl Fronczak – Co-worker of Larry Guo
"My brother-in-law, Kevin Johnston, was onboard Flight #3407. He was 52 years old. He was married to my sister, Kathy, for 28 years. He is the father of 3 beautiful daughters… Melissa (26), Amanda (23), and Kelsey (18). He also leaves behind his mother and father and one sister, along with many in-laws and nieces and nephews… all who loved Kevin and miss him very much. We are a very close family, so the sudden, tragic death of Kevin has affected all of us deeply.
In the 28 years since Kevin came into our family, we have always known him to be one of the most patient, selfless, caring and hardworking people we have ever known. He was a true family man… a loving husband and father… 100% devoted to Kathy and his 3 girls. In my sister’s own words… “we were blessed to have the relationship and marriage we did”… and the payoff was his daughters and the merited pride he had for them. Kathy and Melissa, Amanda, and Kelsey miss him horribly.
Kevin’s family was the most important thing in his life… and that extended beyond his immediate family. Kathy, my brother and I lost our father to cancer in August… just under 6 months before the crash. Kevin was at Dad’s bedside daily; he was at our side on the morning Dad died… and Kevin continued to be there for our mother (his mother-in-law) in the days and weeks following Dad’s death. He helped our Mom around the house fixing things and he assisted her with all the paperwork in the aftermath. Kevin was a son to her. My Mom misses him.
Just 6 weeks before the crash, in an attempt to alleviate some of the sadness of our father’s death and “escape” from the holidays, we went on a Family Christmas Cruise. THANK GOD we went when we did and did not “put it off”… unknowing that in a few short weeks, Kevin would not be with us. There were 21 of us and we will all cherish those happy memories of that trip forever.
One of the many difficult things my sister and nieces will have to endure is taking the drive to Ellicottville. It is there where Kevin fulfilled a lifetime dream. Very recently he completed the building of a chalet on the hillside near the ski resorts. He designed it, furnished it and spent many weekends up there working hard to complete it… it took a few years, but now he could finally go up there with family and friends to relax and enjoy it. Sadly, he was able to relish in it for only 1 season. Thoughts of their beautiful new home and all the love and hard work he put into it is disheartening for all his family. Since the crash, it sits empty now… knowing what it meant to him makes the thought of returning there anytime too soon both emotional and depressing.
We all miss Kevin immensely. You can’t help but think of all the things that will never be. Kevin supported and saw his 2 oldest daughters through college, but was in the midst of helping his youngest, a high school senior, with her college applications and decisions. Kelsey will graduate from high school in less than 2 months…without her father there. Inevitably, there are 3 weddings in the future…Kevin will not be there to walk his girls down the aisle. My sister is trying so hard not to let her mind wander too far ahead…but it is a daily struggle and difficult not to dwell on his absence in their lives.
There were approximately 1200 people at Kevin’s memorial service…We will never forget it. It was a tribute to Kevin and a testimony of all the family and friends and neighbors and co-workers who loved and respected him. It is an immense pain and heaviness in all our hearts that he is no longer with us. Not a day goes by where I don’t, at some point, speak aloud to myself and up towards him… “Kevin, I cannot believe you are never coming home to us”… The hurt and sadness I see in Kathy and my nieces everyday as they cope with their loss and at the same time, struggle to maintain everyday “normalcy” is heart-wrenching. We can see the road to healing will be a very long and slow one… the circumstances of his death adding to the anguish we feel. Its not just us…
This crash has caused such grief and suffering and torment in the lives of 49 other families. And the most difficult aspect is coming to the realization that this accident did not have to happen. That is what hurts the most…that is what we must cope with in our hearts and minds for the rest of our lives."
Helen Agius - Sister-in-law of Kevin Johnston
"I stood in the airport on February 12 holding the hand of my 4-year-old son. We were waiting for Aunt Elly to come home. It was always such an exciting event... but she never did. Since that day, my heart aches to watch her scoop up one of my boys in her arms. I would give anything to see her walk through the front door of my parents house and sit down for dinner and listen to her tell us about her hysterical adventures. My daddy cries every day because he misses his little girl. He'll never walk her down the aisle for her wedding or have his dance with his daughter. My mother will never go shopping with Elly for her wedding dress, or see the smile on her face when she finds that perfect gown. Every day my heart aches because I know that she never had the chance to be a mother, and that the world doesn't have a piece of her to continue her legacy. Elly was fearless. She wasn't intimidated by people or situations, she'd take every moment and enjoy it to the very fullest. She'd been skydiving, gone to the Kentucky Derby, visited all the big cities for the St. Patrick's Day Parade, and the week before she died, she went swimming with the dolphins. She would come up with the most outrageous ideas - at Christmas time, when all of her girlfriends from high school were back in town, they would dress up like elves and romp around from place to place, singing and hooking people with their canes... they called it "Elf Night." She took people by surprise, she was gorgeous, charming, outrageously funny, and when she believed in something, she fought fiercely for it. She would have been an amazing attorney and made such an impact in her field.
What was so amazing about Elly was that she found a way to excel in school and spend endless time with her family in the midst of living so much life. She made the Dean's List every semester in undergrad, won a prestigious full paid scholarship her senior year, and continued to win academic awards in law school. She had 4 nephews and a niece, and she spoke of them constantly. She had to find the biggest, most exciting gifts for them on every birthday. They were the joy of her life.
Elly... we don't know what to do without you. There is an emptiness in all of us that can never be filled. The boys cry at night because they miss you so much. They said they'd rather have Elly back than "a thousand bucks or a million, thousand bucks." My heart is broken because the babies will never know what an amazing aunt they had. Chris and I miss our crazy little sister, Lynsay and Dan are forever changed, and Mom and Dad have hearts that are so broken. Our lives will never be the same, but I'm so unspeakably grateful that we got to have you as a daughter, sister, aunt, and friend for 24 years. We miss you now and always."
Laura Kausner Voigt - Sister of Elly Kausner
"Madeline Loftus was my oldest daughter. She was 24 years old. She meant the world to her family and friends. Madeline was enjoying her life and had such an exciting bright future ahead of her. She worked her way through college, and always found time to volunteer to help others. She moved back home to New Jersey to be closer to her family, along with starting a great and promising career path in a top pharmaceutical advertising firm. There was loads of promises here, and she absolutely loved working there besides the team members also loving her. She found time to coach a junior high school travel hockey team.
This winter she would leave work every afternoon, and play ice hockey out in an open pond. The fun she had with her brother, sister and friends was priceless. Madeline loved to ski, hike, travel, play ice hockey, the beach, fishing, sushi. She was so full of life, and took part in everything life had to offer. She was the only girl on the high school ice hockey team. The love of the game, kept her busy every day, also being an active team player on travel teams. She moved on to play college ice hockey for Buffalo State, and then moved to Minnesota, and played on St Mary's University ice hockey team. Madeline always found time for her friends, traveling all over to make sure she spent time with everyone, even those who lived away from where she was. She was on her way to Buffalo State to spend the weekend with her college friends, along with playing ice hockey at what was supposed to be a reunion game. She told everyone she came in contact with the few weeks before, the fun she anticipated. Even though she had gone to Vermont skiiing two weekends in January, and New Hampshire in the beginning of February, the excitement to play hockey with her friends made her so happy. We all miss her so much. She is now skating with the stars in heaven."
Anna Marie Russo - Mother of Madeline Loftus
"December 28, 1978 was a very special day! Excitement, joy and happiness filled my heart with love when I held my baby girl, Lorin for the first time. It was the perfect moment knowing my husband, Scott and I had a beautiful daughter to love and cherish for a lifetime.
Lorin was gifted in so many ways. At a young age she wanted to share what was hers with all of her friends. Throughout her years in school and in her career, she continued to give of herself to her friends, fellow athletes, coaches, co-workers, administrators, community leaders, but most importantly to her family. Her commitment to family did not stop with us, her parents and her brother, Christopher. She frequently visited her grandparents, aunts, uncles and all of her cousins. She was the oldest of the cousins and set high standards for them to follow. They looked up to her as their role model.
Lorin was positive, enthusiastic, and unselfish and dedicated to every task that came her way. Her disciplines with every facet of life made her successful in all of her endeavors. She was an academic and an All-American swimmer in high school and college and was the New Jersey Conference College Swimmer of the Year. Challenging herself to the highest level was her daily goal. Lorin’s ability to be a total team player, her motivation and her sportsmanship were attributes everyone admired.
As she approached each day, she was fulfilled knowing she made others happy. Whether it was assisting a co-worker with a project, coaching young children on a swim team, helping at athletic events, mentoring student-athletes, or volunteering with community activities and fundraisers; not one person will ever forget her genuine, infectious smile. The smile was always there and it represented her joy and happiness to be able to help others.
As her mother, I could envision all that would lie ahead of her. A promising career, a dedicated wife, a caring mother, an exercise enthusiast, a devoted friend to everyone that crossed her path, and the love she shared with her family were a few of the things she would be denied when Continental Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo, New York. Many people referred to her as “The Connector”. Once Lorin met you, you were connected to her forever. She never forgot a person she met and always stayed in touch with them. Lorin fell in love with a remarkable young man and wanted so very much to get married and have a family to love, nurture and support. Lorin’s hopes and dreams for a full life were taken away from her on the evening of February 12, 2009 when she died in the horrific airplane crash on Long Street.
I will no longer hear Lorin’s voice, see Lorin’s beautiful smile, give Lorin a hug when she walks into a room, read emails from Lorin, have lunch with Lorin, go on a shopping spree with Lorin including the day we would shop for her wedding dress. Lorin will no longer be able to share a vacation with her family or attend sporting events, dance recitals, plays and many other activities of her cousins. When our family gathers together for holidays and special events, there will be a void and a hole in my heart, because my lovely daughter, Lorin, will not physically be present.
December 28th will never be the same. That special day 30 years ago when I held Lorin in my arms for the very first time, a sweet and innocent baby who had the whole world in front of her for a lifetime of discovery and adventure was cut way too short. Her spirit will never leave me, but how I long to be able to hold her in my arms again and tell her how much I LOVE HER just as I did on the day she was born.
Please evaluate the cause of this airline tragedy carefully and make any necessary recommendations and regulations with aviation safety so another mother or anyone does not have to feel the pain and suffering I experience every day."
Terry Maurer – Mother of Lorin Maurer
February 12, 2009
"10:15 PM - We are finally on our final approach into Buffalo International Airport. I am so excited to see Kevin. It has been three weeks since we were together in Indianapolis with my parents at the Butler basketball games. Celebrating his brothers wedding on Valentines Day will be very romantic and special. Kevin is a one of a kind man and he has made me so very happy. He is just what I have been waiting for in a relationship
10:16 PM - Oh my God, what is happening!!!!! The plane is twisting and turning in so many ways. This is very scary. The entire plane is falling so fast from the sky and everyone is extremely frightened. Please Lord do not make this my day to meet you in person. I have so much more I want to do. My life has only really begun after 18 years of education toward my goal of being an Athletic Director at a major university. My internship at the NCAA, Assistant Director of Marketing at the Mountain West Conference, and now Friends Group Manager at Princeton University has prepared me well. I love working with student athletes and I really think I have much to offer them through my personal experiences and new ideas.
Please Lord do not let this be my last day on earth. Kevin and I are so happy and looking forward to building our lives together. Mom and I will have so much fun looking for that perfect wedding dress for my special day. Dad has been looking forward to walking me down the aisle since the day I was born. They are so proud of me and love me so much. If I should perish their hearts will surely be broken for the rest of their lives.
I have also been blessed with a great brother. Now that we are older and done with our competitive sports we have more time to spend with each other. It has been so much fun making extended weekend trips to spend time together. While we were growing up I was always his “Big” sister giving him advice and supporting his efforts. We have a special relationship and I really look forward to the days when both of us have our own families with many children who will play together as we did growing up.
I am also the oldest grandchild on my mothers’ side of our family. All of my cousins look to me for guidance, mentoring, and love. We have so much fun together at family gatherings. There are so many years in front of us to carry on our families’ heritage, traditions, and legacy.
10:17 PM - Mom, Dad, Christopher, and Kevin all of the screaming has stopped. We are no longer falling through the sky as our plane has hit the ground very hard. It hurt really badly until all feeling left my body. I guess my final prayer was not answered and I have passed to the other side of life. Before I fully transcend let me again tell you how much I love and will miss all of you. Our family is the best and I’m really happy that I’m part of it. I already miss seeing your faces.
Let me ask that you do all that you can to prevent future families from losing their loved ones like this accident has done to us and the other families involved. Previous victims from other plane crashes have already been whispering to me that I shouldn’t be with them as this accident was preventable. Hold those responsible and accountable for aviation oversight (FAA and Airline Industry) to make things right in Safety.
Please also remember how I lived by being caring and generous to friends and family. Continue to live your lives in this same way as you have taught me and carry it out to others as I was doing. And lastly know that I will always be in your hearts until we meet again in heaven.
All my LOVE forever, Lorin"
Scott Maurer - Father of Lorin Maurer
"On that fateful night of February 12th, 2009, I waited for my girlfriend Lorin Maurer to arrive at the Buffalo airport. My brother Keith was getting married that Saturday on Valentine’s Day, and I was looking forward to watching Lorin smile and dance and laugh all weekend in a way that only she could. But then I found myself down in baggage claim crying on my phone as I woke up Lorin’s parents at one a.m. to break them the heartbreaking news.
In life, I have always been a dreamer. If I put my mind to something and believed in it with all my heart, I thought it would happen. When it came to finding the right girl, I never had much use for dating around; I just thought I would someday find that perfect person and everything would click. Well, it took me almost thirty four years to find her, but finally I met Lorin. We shared some amazing times together, not just in the fun things that we did, but in the thoughts that we shared, and in the way we made each other feel. There’s a great saying that friends have attributed to Lorin, ‘It’s a beautiful day, and it’s great to be alive.’ And that sums up how she approached life every day. That’s what I loved so much about her, and now that’s what I find myself missing so deeply.
The last thing that Lorin would want for me or anyone else to do would be to stop living on her account. So I cherish the many fond memories, and I struggle to push for positives each and every day. But I am human, and I can’t help thinking that I’ve been cheated out of the most wonderful thing that came into my life. And I am constantly haunted by the question of whether everything that possibly could have been done to prevent this crash was. For those who have influence in the aviation safety process, please do what you can to make sure this never happens to any other family again.
Lorin – I love you and I miss you."
- Kevin Kuwik, boyfriend of Lorin Maurer
For a video tribute to Lorin Maurer, please Click Here.
Fun, full of life and vigour.
Adored his daughter (Andrea) and wife (Elaine) with all his heart.
Mentor to all who knew him.
In life there are no guarantees, but Don always had a positive outlook and he will always be our hero.
Loved many things in life like: Running, Golfing and his fishing pond which is a sanctuary for quiet reflection.
Years of hard work, pride and passion gone but never forgotten.
Made our home a security blanket of love.
Andrea and Elaine will fulfill his dream to Run the Boston Marathon one day.
Never problems in life only solutions.
Don was taken away from us much too soon but his legacy will live on. Every time we see Andrea smile, we feel Don is with us.
Elaine McDonald - Wife of Don McDonald
"The most noteworthy achievement of Dawn Monachino's life is the love and caring she shared with her Family and all others whose live's she touched. She was a Loving Wife and dedicated loving Daughter. Dawn was a devoted Aunt and Godmother who loved her nieces and nephews. They were an important part of her Life and she especially enjoyed the time they spent fishing and walking the dogs together and Dawn never missed the opportunity to capture the moments with her gifted abilities in photography.
Dawn attended Marywood College as a voice major and was known for her beautiful voice. She later transferred to and graduated from West Chester University with a Teaching degree. She considered Teaching her "Calling in Life" and positively influenced the lives of many of her students in her Elementary School classrooms. She taught at the Chicora School in Charleston South Carolina, a city that she loved, and as a substitute Teacher in the Northtowns area schools of Buffalo NY, after moving to Clarence NY for her Marriage to Michael Monachino.
After numerous years as a substitute Teacher, Dawn entered the field of Pharmaceutical Sales. She achieved Top 5% National Level Sales Achievement and was awarded 3 "President's Club" awards for outstanding performance. She was also promoted to the position of District Trainer with her most recent employer, Schering -Plough Pharmaceuticals.
Dawn loved and cared for animals. She personally cared for her Families 2 dogs- Lady, a golden Retriever and Shadow, a chocolate Lab. But her love for animals also showed itself in her donations to and activities in various Animal Care Organizations. She was also active with the Alzheimer's Association of America. Alzheimer's Disease was especially important to Dawn, whose Mother suffers from this dreaded disease. Dawn spent days at a time with her Mother- ensuring her care and well-being. She Dawn's hobbies included photography.
Dawn was a caring and Loving Wife to her Husband, Michael. She was a "shining light" of Love and Joy to all with whom she shared her life and will be deeply missed."
Michael Monachino - Husband of Dawn Monachino
“On February 12, 2009 our lives were forever changed when we lost our beloved son and brother, Johnathan R. Perry. Only 27 years old, Johnathan was living the life he had worked so hard to achieve. We were all so proud and happy for him and loved him so very, very much.
Johnathan grew up in Loveland, Ohio with his three younger siblings. He graduated from St. Xavier High School as a National Merit Finalist and a member of the National Honor Society. How excited we all were when he was accepted into the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, Johnathan joined the firm of W. P. Carey in New York City. In 2007, John became Head of the International Asset Management Group and opened the firm’s Amsterdam Office in July 2008. At 27, he was responsible for managing nearly $3 billion in assets invested in 13 countries outside the U.S. His capacity for hard work was exceptional, as well as his passion for living a full life.
These are the facts of Johnathan’s life but Johnathan was so much more. He was kind, and generous, and witty and while these may sound like generic terms, Johnathan was anything but generic. Those that knew John, or even just met him, would only describe him as distinctly unique. He was always, even at a very young age, a champion of the underdog. He had a strong sense of ethics by which he abided. When he laughed, which he did often, his whole body shook. He lived life with an expediency and passion that in retrospect could only be described as prophetic. Johnathan believed you should not only pursue your dreams but achieve them. He urged those around him, especially his siblings, to do just that.
Johnathan had found someone to love and together they enjoyed a magnificent life. Johnathan and Nicole Korcyzkowski died together on Continental 3407. They were completely happy and totally in love. Many people have asked if it is easier knowing that Johnathan and Nicole died together. There is nothing….nothing….easy about this situation. The situation is just doubly tragic for our families. We grieve for both Johnathan and Nicole. Our families were anticipating planning a wedding, instead we planned memorial services.
We recently returned from a trip to Amsterdam, a trip that Johnathan had given to us for Christmas. We were all so excited to spend time together. Without Johnathan the trip was obviously very different than planned. We visited his office, an office he had designed and planned with colleagues he had hired. When we entered the conference room, on the wall was a plaque that read “Perry Room”. The duality and complexity of emotions that we felt were overwhelming. Such a lovely gesture for Johnathan by his friends and colleagues, but so sad, so very, very sad, that our 27 year old son/brother has a plaque in his memory.
As we said, our lives are forever, tragically changed. We grieve and pray daily for Johnathan and Nicole and all of the victims and families of Continental 3407. We pray that we have the strength to move forward. It is so very difficult. Our family desperately wants the mistakes, oversights, and airplane system deficiencies that contributed to this accident to be uncovered and corrected to ensure that no other family ever endure such a preventable loss.”
Denise, Bob, Erin, Alicia, and Adam Perry - Parents and Siblings of Johnathan Perry
"I woke up out of a sound sleep to the telephone ringing. As I rushed to answer it I thought to myself, “God, please make it not be bad news”. Those early morning phone calls are never good news. As I approached the phone, my heart was racing. It was only two years ago when I was awaken again by the telephone of news of my mother’s unexpected death.
So, I answered the phone hesitantly. It was my brother, Jim, calling me from Buffalo to tell me there was a plane crash. He was crying so hard I could barely understand him. I know what a tight knit community Buffalo is, so I was thinking it was probably a neighbor or friend of his. I said how sorry I was, but still thinking to myself “couldn’t this of waited a few more hours when he knew I would be awake”? He was crying uncontrollably which made it difficult to hear what he was saying. But then, clear as day, I heard the words that will echo in my head forever, “Mary was on the plane”! I screamed and cried and said, “No, Jim…please no! Are you sure? Not our Mary!” I don’t remember much after that.
My sister, Mary was an exceptional person. She was my EVERYTHING. She was caring, smart, and compassionate. She was gentle, honest, and hard working. She was the third oldest of ten children and just recently got engaged to be married for the first time. She was so excited about finally walking down the aisle with our Dad. Her wedding was set for June and her bridal shower for May. Unfortunately, Flight 3407 took that dream away from her. Family was everything to Mary. She had 38 nieces and nephews that meant the world to her. She never had children of her own, but she would have made a wonderful mother.
Mary was the friend that everyone wanted to have and the person that everyone wanted to be. There was never a person she met that she didn’t touch somehow. She had an infectious smile and a laugh that was contagious. My days were always better when Mary was around. My only comfort is knowing she is with my Mom and in the arms of the angels.
As the investigation continues, we are learning that this accident did not have to happen. This accident has caused so much grief and suffering to so many people. There were 50 exceptional individuals that were taken from us unexpectedly. It is up to us to make their memories last a lifetime.
I love and miss you, Mary."
Sue Pash - Sister of Mary Pettys
Kristin Marie Safran was 37 years, 7 months, and 7 days old the night Continental flight 3407 fell from the sky on its approach into Buffalo, NY. She was not only our daughter; she was a wife, mother, step-mother, sister, granddaughter, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, niece and cousin to a large extended family. Kristin was a friend to many, a successful business owner, a civic volunteer, a great neighbor, and your all-round American girl who believed in and loved God, her country, her family, and her friends.
As her Mom, I’ve lost my daughter, my friend, my shopping buddy, and the Mother of my grandchildren. Kristin was full of life and love, and she was taken from her daughters while they are still so young. Alexandra, at six, is hopefully old enough to remember the love that her Mom had for her, but Sydney just turned one on February 22nd. She will only know her Mom through pictures and our stories. Sydney will never have those very important memories of her Mom holding her, hugging her, and loving her.
As her Dad, I will always miss her radiant smile, and I will never stop being proud of all she accomplished in her shortened life. Kristin was a woman who wanted it all and had successfully achieved that goal. She was the epitome of a highly intelligent and hard working individual. She absorbed herself completely in whatever enterprise she engaged in whether it was helping her daughter, Alexandra, with a lemonade stand to raise money for the SPCA, building bottled water plants in Iraq for the US military, or helping to grow the recycling program in Russ and Kristin’s adopted hometown of Bradford, PA,.
Kristin loved her husband and daughters above all else in her life and she cherished their time together. Kristin is sorely missed every minute of every day and will forever be.
Gale & Cindi Saltzgiver - Mother and Father of Kristin Safran
"I met Darren on a blind date in 1983 and fell in the love the moment I looked into his eyes. Darren was my “everything” and by that I mean he was my best friend. Our wedding rings were inscribed with “Forever 8/29/86”. Now, he will only be forever in my heart. Darren was an amazing father. He and my son Darren, now 20, used to take long walks late and night and often come in laughing. There is no laughter late at night for my son anymore; his best friend was taken away from him too. My daughter, Nikki, rode into school every day with dad and always looked for him at track meets. Now she looks at the spot where dad stood and races to the finish line with a new found energy because dad’s ashes are there.
Darren was not only important to the three of us, he was important to our entire Nation’s National Security. Darren was working on a simulation and test capability program critical to our National Security that provides our War Fighters in the field – primarily aviators and helicopter pilots - with new and improved Aircraft Survivability Surveillance Systems that protect the pilots and their platforms form enemy threats. This simulation and test capability, that Darren was vital in developing, is also used to develop Counter Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (IED systems) to protect our military forces from “roadside bombs.”
Through his involvement in this effort, Darren was a valued contributor to saving the lives of numerous U.S. military personnel. Darren’s technical expertise was instrumental in saving the lives of our heroic War Fighters.
Darren was working to protect his family but Darren actually protected the entire nation."
- Robin Tolsma, wife of Darren Tolsma
“I lost my beloved sister, Susan Wehle, in the crash of flight 3407. I spoke to her on the phone as she was waiting in the Newark airport for her connecting flight that would take her home to Buffalo after a glorious vacation in Costa Rica. It was such a well-deserved vacation as she worked so hard (almost 24/7) all year long as the beloved cantor of Temple Beth Am. In addition to leading services, teaching students, singing in concerts, directing a choir, mediating conflicts, and offering sound counsel to those in need, she put much of her time and effort into comforting the sick and the dying by singing to them in their hospital rooms and was passionate about bringing children and adults of all faiths together to learn about each other’s similarities rather than their differences. She touched the young and the old with her energy and passion for life. My heart breaks for Susan’s two wonderful sons, my nephews (ages 21 and 24), who are trying to juggle their intense grief and shock with their need to move on with their studies. She also leaves behind our younger sister and our brother, both of whom are also intensely grieving each in their own way. In addition, Susan leaves behind many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends all of whom are struggling with the incomprehensible loss.
My sister, Sue, was sorely missed at Passover a few weeks ago as the whole family gathered together for the first time since the memorial in Buffalo and the subsequent funeral in NYC; but we had many memories to share or to hold quietly in our hearts and her energetic presence was felt - even in her absence.
I miss her as my singing partner at many occasions, most recently at my daughter’s wedding in September, where Susan was the officiant. We would always harmonize together; call each other for help with a forgotten melody; and bicker over whose memory of a melody or rhythm was more accurate. The other day, I tried to teach Susan’s part of a beloved song to my daughters so that we could harmonize at my nephew’s upcoming wedding. They suddenly were overwhelmed by tears at the memory of their aunt singing that song.
Even though I live in Massachusetts, Sue and I would often take our morning walks together, chatting on our cell phones as we walked. Due to her frenetic schedule, our precious phone time often coincided with our walks, or Sue’s driving from one appointment to another, or waiting for planes at airports!
I know that we must all go on and live our lives, yet now we must do so with greater mindfulness about the preciousness of every moment. I am trying to move on-as we all are- but I’m sure we all still share that feeling of vulnerability and that the tears are still just below the surface even on a ‘good’ day. I hope that we all continue to heal from our devastating loss.”
Eva Friedner - Sister of Susan Wehle
"Ernie, the moment I met you at work at the printer asking me if there were any quicker printers around, then proceeding to tell me (in great detail) the phenomenal presentation you were working on and how you were the best….I knew you were “the one”.
I fell instantly in love…your passion, zest, and excitement for life and your work were inspiring. Your twinkling, beautiful blue eyes (which our daughter has, too) captivated me, along with your optimism, humor, laugh, and smile…which was contagious. You were my protector, my security, my saviour, my best friend, my soul mate and my world. You never showed me a bad day and always made me feel better when I was overwhelmed. You always took care of Summer and I, while taking on way too much for yourself without one complaint. I’ve never seen anyone function so well and be so happy on such few hours of sleep. You were so dedicated, I was in awe of you and so very proud of you…you were the best in the business and in your class.
I waited so long for you to come into my life, we had it all, the whole fairytale. It’s not fair and I don’t understand why you were taken from us. We had so many plans, we were so excited to watch Summer grow and experience being a kid again (although we were already big kids ourselves). Who will I watch Jerry Springer with and go to our marathon movies with? Who will I dance all night at the disco with? Who will I watch Summer grow up and teach life to with? Who will I act silly with and try terribly to sing with? Who will I barbeque and swim under the stars with? Who will I carry on traditions with? Who will I cry to, talk to, laugh with, and cuddle with? The answer was you. But, my saving grace is the best gift you could ever give to me, our beautiful daughter, Summer. She is the everlasting reality of our love, I see so much of you in her. I promise I will never, ever let her forget you and let her know how she was the love of your life. I now know why I have so many photo albums and videos of you and her, and us. She will always know you were the best Daddy and the best husband in the world. She will also know how gentle, kind, patient, caring, intelligent, witty and funny you were. How many lives you touched. And how you saved her and I when she was born in the October storm. You were our hero and my rock.
Ernie, you are woven into every piece of our home and land. Every flower, bulb, tree, bush and garden you thoughtfully picked out and planted. The deck you built, the pool you designed, the provider you were. Summer will grow up in our home knowing you are here forever. I promise you that.
I love you and miss you so much, you took a piece of me with you. My heart breaks when I look at Summer, knowing she will never see you again. You would be so proud of our family and friends who have supported me so greatly, I am blessed to have them….I just pray you will send me some of your strength so I can be strong for Summer.
Although she’s only 2, I know she would say this to you:
Daddy, I loved going to Perkins with you every weekend, to the mall, shopping, even Home Depot was fun! I loved going to the garden nurseries with you, to the movies, to the amusement parks and you taking me for all my haircuts. I loved riding the John Deere with you, swimming with you, sharing ice cream, cereal and cookies with you. I loved riding real high on your shoulders while playing the tambourine, getting horsey rides and how you made me laugh all the time. I loved your kisses as you tucked me in bed and read me books. I loved your cooking (so did Mommy) and your taste in clothes, I love your bright colors. I love how proud of me you were, how much you loved me and how safe you made Mommy and I feel……but most of all, Daddy, I love you and you are the best Daddy in the world and Mommy will never let me forget. So, we aren’t going to say goodbye, because we know you will always be with us. Now you just have beautiful, safe wings to fly around with as all the best angels do."
- Jennifer and Summer West, husband and daughter of Ernest West