July 17, 2011 marked the 15th anniversary of the tragic explosion and crash of TWA Flight 800. As in years past, it was a time to gather to remember and honor those lost in the crash. The Flight 800 family members have become compassionate allies for each other. Over the years many have become members of ACCESS and have been volunteer grief mentors for victims of other air disasters. I feel very privileged to be a part of ACCESS grief mentor program. By mentoring others, I am able to be a supportive listener to those going through a similar event. I have also been privileged to present an ACCESS seminar to JetBlue Airways.
It was encouraging to see how the airlines want to be there for those affected by an air disaster and learn what the needs of the families and friends are. By supporting each other and other victims, I feel that we have come a long way in the last 15 years as evidenced by the lasting and caring friendships, bonds, and dedication to air safety that we all have.
Larry Gustin, Tampa, FL, lost his mother Anne on TWA Flight 800 on 7/17/96