Friday, November 09, 2001

Ky. event honors crews of Sept. 11

By Sarah Buehrle
Enquirer Contributor

        NEWPORT — They are flying in to help, but they always do.

        Flight attendants from as far away as New York and Texas will gather in Kentucky tonight at the Syndicate for a fund-raiser to benefit families of the flight crews on the planes that crashed in the Sept. 11 attacks.

[photo] Carol Arnold (foreground left), Kim Kauza (back left), Kathleen Huelefeld (back right) and Stephanie Danko are among the fund-raiser organizers.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        Local flight attendants from Delta, American and United airlines rallied to produce “Friends in Flight, Friends in Freedom,” with all proceeds donated to funds already in place at American and United for surviving families.

        Stephanie Danko, a Delta flight attendant for 12 years who co-organized the fund-raiser with fellow Delta flight attendant Carol Arnold, said flight industry members are a close-knit group, but that solidarity had grown since Sept. 11.

        “I think we all relived those final moments,” said Ms. Danko, whose sister is a Texas flight attendant and flew in for the event. “You realize what they were doing in those final moments. It could have been you.”

        A sister of one of the flight attendants who died on United flight 175 will speak at the event. Fellow United flight attendant Kim Kauza said the sister is still grieving, but is coming to put a face to her deceased sister's name.

        The band Spectrum, featuring a Delta pilot, will perform. Two professional singers, Larry and Gloria Johnson, a New York Delta flight attendant and his mother, will also entertain those at the benefit.

        Mr. Johnson felt compelled to volunteer to make the trip to Kentucky. “It doesn't matter what uniform you wear, we're all united,” Mr. Johnson said. “I don't have words to express it. It's just a void. It seems like I always look over there (at the New York skyline) and the buildings are gone.”

   What: Friends in Flight, Friends in Freedom benefit.
   Where: The Syndicate, Newport.
   When: 7:30 p.m. to midnight tonight.
   Cost: Tickets sell for $20 each, and are available at the door.
   Donations: Those interested can donate after the benefit through Fifth Third Bank at “Friends in Flight” Fund, P.O. Box 72816, Newport, KY 41072.
        There will be a raffle and a silent auction containing more than 70 items, including a Bengals football signed by the team, a University of Kentucky basketball and both the American and Kentucky flag donated by Kentucky state Rep. Jim Callahan.

        Susana Leyva, spokeswoman for United Airlines, said that the Friends in Flight event started when Sandy and Tom Catanzaro, both flight attendants for Delta, created T-shirts to sell to benefit family members.

        The Catanzaros paired with Ms. Danko and Ms. Arnold to create the Friends in Flight donation fund at Fifth Third Bank.

        Bearing the saying “Friends in Flight” in red and “Friends in Freedom” in blue, the white T-shirts sell for $15 each.

        Mrs. Catanzaro said that they have sold nearly 600 shirts, and that they will bring 200 to the fund-raiser at the Syndicate.

        After the benefit, the T-shirts will no longer be produced.

        The flight attendants plan to give all proceeds from the T-shirt sales and the fund-raiser to the airlines before the three-month anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

        Eight pilots and 26 flight attendants died in the crashes of the four flights.

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