Tag Archives: Brace for Impact: Miracle on the Hudson Survivors Share Their Stories of Near Death and Hope for New Life

Sully Sullenberger's New Book "Making a Difference" Relates to Dave Sanderson's Mission after Surviving the Miracle on the Hudson

Sully Sullenberger has a new book out, “Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage From America’s Leaders.” To gather material for the book, Sully spoke to leaders from diverse walks of life about the qualities, characteristics, and intentions of effective leaders and agents of change. His own intention, Sully says, is to remind us that we all can be leaders through our actions, no matter who we are or what we do in life.

I totally agree. I also believe that when one person leads through his or her actions in a profound way, it opens the door for, and encourages, others in their direct orbit to bring forward their own leadership abilities and inclinations. That’s how it has worked for Dave Sanderson. Dave is one of the surviving passengers of the Miracle on the Hudson featured in the book that I co-authored, “Brace for Impact: Miracle on the Hudson Survivors Share Their Stories of Near Death and Hope for New Life.” (http://braceforimpact.hcibooks.com) With every breath he takes, Dave knows that Sully’s brilliant leadership and stunning precision in landing US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson gave him a chance to live. Sully’s feat also paved the way for dozens of passengers like Dave to demonstrate their own leadership, resourcefulness, and teamwork in working together to get out of that plane and onto rescue boats alive – with not a single casualty, thanks to the efforts of those ferry boat operators, first responders, Red Cross personnel and many more.

Dave Sanderson risked his own health and safety by remaining onboard near the vulnerable rear of the plane until others had safely climbed onto the plane’s life rafts and water-covered wings. A night in the hospital with severe hypothermia from standing in waist-deep frigid water was a small price to pay. From his experience, a new life mission was born for Dave: to become a public speaker to share what happened to him through the Miracle on the Hudson, what he learned from it, and what we all can gain from recognizing that we indeed can become leaders in our own lives while serving the public good.

Dave has presented hundreds of talks to diverse audiences all over the country, including many fund-raising appearances for the Red Cross. He’s done it all while maintaining his primary job as well. He’s touched women and men of all ages who hear him, and many of them have in turn touched Dave with their own stories about courageous and dedicated acts to lead and serve others. It’s the ripple effect of the Miracle on the Hudson that we discuss in “Brace for Impact.” Sully Sullenberger is the catalyst, and his latest book and talks remind us that those ripples can reach every one of us.

– Kevin Quirk, Co-author of “Brace for Impact: Miracle on the Hudson Survivors Share Their Stories of Near Death and Hope for New Life” and author of “Your Life Is a Book – And It’s Time to Write It!”


On Two-Year Anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson, Brace for Impact Remains a Life Bond for Passengers Darren Beck and Don Norton

Today marks the tw0-year anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson. Remember when US Airways Flight 1549 spalshed down on the icy Hudson River and, thanks to Sully Sullenberger’s astounding skills and the heroic efforts of rescuers, the crew, and the passengers, everyone went home alive? Remember the images of those passengers standing in the water on the wings of the plane?

I wasn’t on that plane but I’ve been closely involved with the story since the day it happened. I was drawn to find out how this experience changed the lives of those who were on that plane and became co-author of the book “Brace for Impact: Miracle on the Hudson Survivors Share Their Stories of Near Death and Hope for New Life.” The only book that focuses primarily on how the passengers’ lives were dramatically changed after the crash and rescue, “Brace for Impact” (http://braceforimpact.hcibooks.com) present 25 first-person accounts.

Darren Beck and Don Norton tell their stories in our book, and their story has taken on a new twist in the last few months. Darren and Don were co-workers in a large Charlotte firm on the day of the crash, but now they’ve become best friends whose work and social lives are indeliby linked. Darren came away from the experience motivated to find more meaningful work and a few months ago became CEO of the small firm Business Insurance Now near Dallas. He immediately reached out to Don and recruited him as his right-hand man. “You have to take this job. I saved your life on the Hudson,” Darren joked, because he had changed Don’s seating assignment for Flight 1549 so Don wound up on an exit row. Don Norton’s fast thinking enabled him to open that door open immediately and allowed passengers to scramble to safety.

Don tok the job because he trusted Darren like no one else. Now they live five miles apart and their families share dinners and social outings regularly. From the first day of shock and slow healing after the crash, they have held this spirit: We’re in this together. It’s never been more true today. You can read more about Darren and Don in this story in the Dallas Morning News:


– Kevin Quirk, Founder of Life Is a Book, Member of the Association of Personal Historians, and author of the new book “Your Life Is a Book – And It’s Time to Write It: An A-to-Z Guide to Help Anyone Write Their Life Story”