"You're the wife of that 'hero pilot,' aren't you?"
Lorrie Sullenberger gets that a lot. In fact, it's now become her job — to be the wife of Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot who saved 155 passengers by landing his plane safely on the Hudson River in New York on Jan. 15, 2009.
Before Flight 1549 changed the Sullenbergers lives, Lorrie had her own career aspirations. She was a fitness coach with her own television slot on ABC7's "The View from the Bay."
But life changes unexpectedly. Lorrie's mission was refocused in the aftermath of all the media attention surrounding the Hudson River landing. She realized that her husband had given America a message of hope when it needed it most. The letters started pouring in, filling 20 storage tubs to date, and the couple received around 50,000 emails of gratitude, love and personal stories.
"They inspire me every day," said Lorrie at the Women's Networking Speaker Series Luncheon on Thursday, which was hosted by the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce at the Hilton Hotel.
Lorrie has found her path sharing that message of hope.
"We know it is more than Flight 1549," said Lorrie. "The news at the time was bleak and... America needed a win."
One letter the Sullenberger's received put it succinctly:
Dear Captain Sullenberger,
In the past year, I lost my job, my home, my best friend and my father. I had lost my faith.
You, sir, gave it back.
"There's power in a worldwide feel-good moment," said Lorrie.
She closed the lunch talk by sharing a letter from a Danville woman whose husband died in a plane crash ten years before Flight 1549 hit the Hudson River. The event gave her the strength to finally go through her husband's belongings and help the whole family find closure. Watch the video above.
Were you inspired by the Hudson River plane landing? Share your experience in the comments below.