Finding Connection 50 Years after the Fire

By Amy Acton, RN, BSN, Executive Director

As the anniversary of our injuries approach, some of us do anything we can to distract ourselves and avoid the memories, others celebrate their “new birthday”, and eventually for some, the day comes just like any other.

Page 3 -Alan Breslau with childToday is the 50th anniversary of the Mohawk Airlines Flight 121 that took off in Rochester NY on July 2, 1963 and crashed in a thunderstorm.  Seven people were killed and 36 people were injured.  Alan Breslau was on that plane and his path of healing lead to the founding of the only national burn survivor organization in the country, the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors.  It is an important anniversary for all of us because out of this tragedy rose the Phoenix Society and all the amazing support that has followed for the last 35 years.

Yet the anniversary would have passed quietly had a fellow Mohawk passenger, who was preparing for his 50th burn injury anniversary, not reached out to remember and connect with others who were there.  He stumbled upon an article that mentioned the Phoenix Society website at the bottom and looked us up, quickly realizing that a fellow passenger, Alan Breslau, was the founder.  Steve was burned and never met Alan after the accident, nor did he know that the resources for burn survivors and their families existed.  I am sure they will have a powerful conversation as they connect some 50 years later to remember and I also hope they celebrate all that they have accomplished over the past 50 years.  I myself will be celebrating with them in spirit today!

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