Tag Archives: Miracle on the Hudson passengers

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”

Sully Sullenberger's Movie Could Inspire Us to Write Our Own Dramatic Life Stories

As the co-author of the inspirational book Brace for Impact: Miracle on the Hudson Survivors Share Their Stories of Near Death and Hope for New Life, I also write blogs for our book’s website. Here’s one I just posted last night when I heard the news about Sully Sullenberger attracting a movie deal for his story in executing that improbable landing with the Miracle on tthe Hudson:


Ever since that awe-inspiring event on January 15, 2009, Sully has had much to teach us – about being prepared for challenging moments, about putting our skills and our wisdom to the best possible use, about staying calm in a crisis, about being humble and crediting others. The movie about his life story and his actions that day certainly can teach us even more about all of that. It also has the potential to illustrate what to do when a dramatic life experience changes our life in a signficant way. I learned a great deal about that from the passengers of the Miracle on the Hudson flgiht in my work on the book Brace for Impact. Their profound life changes continue to extend out in ripples of gratitude, appreciation, meaning, and hope all around them.

Few of us have lived through moments quite so dramatic as Sully bringing that crippled jet down on the Hudson River, although I must admit that in teaching my life-writing classes for ten years I have heard some stories that rank right up there! But most of us have lived through something that indelibly changed us: a brush with death, a moment when everything came together just right, an unlikely and unexpected feat at a critcal moment.. When we write about those experiences with openness and heart, and we search for and share the meaning of how those moments changed us, we have the opportunity to teach and inspire so many other people today – especially younger people.

So don’t be bashful. Tell us what you did when a little bit of Sully Sullenberger was coming through you, and show us how it changed you.  We’ll bring our own popcorn.

– Kevin Quirk, Life Is a Book