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”