On Jan. 15, 2009, Dave Sanderson finished with a business meeting early and decided to call his travel agent and see if he could switch flights so he could get home to see his family a little sooner. After a few minutes, he was booked into seat 15A on US Airways Flight 1549. Little did he realize it at the time, but that small change would have a major impact on his life.
As Flight 1549 was taking off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, both engines were disabled after being struck by a flock of Canada geese. The pilot, with no recourse, told the passengers to “Brace for impact” and crash-landed the plane in the Hudson River. The event immediately became known as “The Miracle on the Hudson.”
With water rushing into the plane, Sanderson risked his own life by helping others reach safety first. He became the last passenger off the plane. Once he stepped through the door, he then had three profound experiences, all involving the American Red Cross: He had to swim to a nearby boat—a skill he learned from the Red Cross. Cold and shivering by the time he reached the shore, a Red Cross volunteer was there to greet him and give him a blanket. And when he called home to let his family know he was alive, a member of the Red Cross was there with them, offering comfort.
Today, Sanderson travels the country—often with the Red Cross blanket the volunteer gave him when he reached the shore—motivating and mentoring others on how they can make an impact on their own lives, the lives of others and the world.
On Wednesday, June 22, Sanderson—a native of Hillsboro, Ohio—is coming to Cincinnati to be the keynote speaker at the Greater Cincinnati Red Cross’s 111th Annual Meeting. The meeting begins at 4:00 p.m. and concludes at 5:30 p.m. He will be signing books and answering questions afterward.