Bruce Brodoff Communications
Bruce Brodoff Communications
Aircraft Casualty Emotional Support Services Names New York State Governor George E. Pataki Humanitarian of the Year
January 24, 2001

Relief Organization Lauds Governor for his Leadership and Compassion

New York State Governor George E. Pataki, who displayed uncommon leadership and compassion while coordinating the rescue, salvage, and memorial efforts following several recent airline disasters, has been named Humanitarian of the Year by AirCraft Casualty Emotional Support Services (ACCESS), an international organization that offers assistance and comfort to those who have been affected by or involved in an air crash.

"No individual is more deserving of this, our first annual Humanitarian of the Year Award, than the Honorable Governor Pataki," said Heidi Snow, who founded ACCESS after losing her fiancú, Michel Briestroff, in the crash of TWA Flight 800. "In the devastating aftermath of the TWA 800, Swissair and EgyptAir crashes, Governor Pataki proved himself to be a very effective chief executive as well as a man who cares deeply about people. His concern and assistance helped hundreds of people, myself included, cope with unimaginable grief, and his noble deeds continue to inspire us as we strive to help those in need."

"I want to thank Heidi Snow and everyone involved with ACCESS for this award and for the wonderful and important work they do," said Governor Pataki. "One of the greatest lessons I have learned from dealing with air disasters is that there is more to being Governor than simply governing," the Governor continued. "One of the most important things we can do in life is to give a piece of ourselves to lighten the burden of others, and I am proud to be associated with and honored by an organization that helps people who have suffered catastrophic loss gain renewed strength, hope and purpose."

ACCESS helps survivors cope with their grief by connecting them with volunteer grief mentors - people who have also survived or lost loved ones in an air tragedy and can lend those in need of comfort and understanding a compassionate ear to share their experiences and feelings.

ACCESS's Volunteer Grief Mentor Program provides continuous help through the weeks, months and years following a crash via toll-free phone support, a website, and the ACCESS newsletter. In addition to emotional support, ACCESS provides those in need with information about related organizations and programs that are available to them.

In presenting the award to Governor Pataki, ACCESS Chairman Stewart Mosberg, whose wife, Rosie Braman, was a flight attendant aboard TWA 800, also praised the Governor for his actions during terrible circumstances.

"While the Governor provided strong leadership and direction to all of the governmental agencies and airline companies involved in post-crash activities, equally important was his compassion and offers of counseling and family assistance to the loved ones left behind," said Mr. Mosberg. "Governor Pataki's words and actions on behalf of those affected by the crash helped ease the pain of loss and provided solace at a time when none seemed possible."

About Access

AirCraft Casualty Emotional Support Services (ACCESS) is a national non-political, not-for-profit, tax-exempt (501c3) organization that provides comfort to friends and families of air disaster victims and survivors.

Since its inception in 1996, the ACCESS network has grown to more than 125 grief mentors and has helped scores of survivors and those who have lost loved ones in 35 air disasters dating as far back as 1960.

With the assistance of the American Red Cross, which distributes the ACCESS Support Services Guide, ACCESS is proud to have helped those affected by disasters including Swissair 111, American Airlines 1420, Egypt Air 990, Alaska Airlines 261, Air France Concorde Flight 4590, Gulf Air Bus A320, Singapore Airlines 006, as well as numerous helicopter, private, commercial and military air crashes.

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