How Hope comes out of Cooperation

I was honored to participate in and host the event, recognizing and celebrating the first responders, healthcare workers, Red Cross, and military personnel who were involved in turning a potential tragedy into a miracle on January 15, 2009. Being with all the disparate groups from fifteen years ago was inspirational and emotional.

I want to thank all the media outlets that attended and interviewed those who were responsible for 155 people having another opportunity. The Captain and First Officer did a fabulous job and deserve all the credit for giving all of us a chance and the first responders and other units executed precisely to turn it into a miracle.

As I listened to all the stories about how the miracle was delivered, a few distinctions were spoken about that stood out.

About seven years ago, one of the first responders, Henry Coratcans and I did a joint talk in New Orleans. Henry shared the plan about how the first responders executed that day. I spoke about how the plan was executed. I learned many things from his talk but rarely do I share them. But one of the most significant of those learnings was revealed this day.

When my friend, Gio Ahmad,  NREMT-P  Captain, shared the story about how the plan to execute a rescue of a plane crash on the Hudson River was signed off on just a couple of weeks prior to that day. The plan was originally about how to execute a boat incident on the Hudson River but the boat was quickly substituted for a plane. What a miracle that the plan was in place and ready to execute just a couple of weeks prior.

I was honored that both regional executives from the American Red Cross were in attendance ( along with over 30 of those volunteers who participated on 1/15/09) and spoke. As I listened to them speak and looked at those Red Crossers, the diversity of people represented showed hope in diversity.

We had several dignitaries in attendance, and each of them who spoke was eloquent and shared their thoughts about how their units participated not only on 1/15/09 but also on 9/11/01. Councilwoman, NYC Majority Whip Selvena Brooks-Powers not only represents the district that JFK Airport is in but is the first African-American female resprentative. Her message of hope resonated.

As I was formulating my final remarks, I suddenly modified what I was going to share and spoke about how 155 passengers, crew and first responders who did not know each other or care about each other, came together in a matter of MOMENTS to turn a potential tragedy into a miracle.

About how disparate forces can come together with a joint mission quickly and there is power in unity.

With all the challenges going on in the world right now, the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, the tension between Taiwan and China and what is going on in Yeman, if the right disparate people could come together, how quickly challenging issues could be resolved in a less destructive way.

What was revealed and reinforced during the event to honor our first responders from January 15, 2009 on the 15th anniversary was the power of unity with diversity and how if you put the interest of others first you will realize that

Miracles are a mindset.

This week, go back in your life and look at those threshold moments that were turning points in your life, and what I believe you will reveal is that when those moments happened, there were disparate forces coming together in unity that helped you close the chasm of where you were at and what you were becoming.

And it was a model for you to create opportunity out of your uncertainty and

Create a flight plan for your future.

Thank you to all the team members who helped bring all the disparate teams from 1/15/09 together to celebrate a miracle on 1/15/24.

May God Bless.