Miracle on the Hudson Survivor Finds Charitable Side Donating Hundreds of Turkeys

by Courtney Blackann
(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Miracle on the Hudson was a very scary moment for those aboard. It’s hard to imagine those several minutes after U.S. Airways Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia Airport. When a flock of birds took out both engines of the jet, the plane landed on the Hudson River. Luckily, everyone on the plane survived. One of those was Casey Jones. Now, the survivor is finding meaning in his second chance by giving back.

Since the incident in 2009, Jones has found ways in his Jacksonville, Florida community to give back. Around the holidays, that comes in the form of turkey donations. This is so each family can celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with a complete meal.

While Casey Jones remembers those harrowing moments waiting on the wings of the plane, he contemplated what life was really about. The January 15 plane ride was monumental for many people. After the plane took off and both engines went out due to the bird strike, Captain Chesley Sullenberger had to make a tough decision.

He notably alerted Air Traffic Control they would be in the Hudson. A shocked technician asked “Sully” to repeat his plan – to which the airline pilot reiterated they intended on landing in the Hudson River. Since that time, the event has been dubbed The Miracle on the Hudson.

It additionally sparked the 2016 drama “Sully” starring Tom Hanks and directed by Clint Eastwood. The film highlights the plight Sully faces when his jet engines went out. It details how he acts quickly to land the plane before anyone gets hurt.

Survivor Has Been Donating Turkeys for Years

As Casey Jones reflects on those moments, he says he knew with his second chance, he wanted to make every day of his life count.

Each and every season for the past 12 years, Jones along with a team of volunteers and his wife, have been donating turkeys to the Salvation Army. Over that time, Jones has donated more than 5,000 turkeys, according to First Coast News.

“I don’t think of it as my success,” Jones explained. “The people who donate, the people who help, my wife’s been sourcing turkeys all week. It’s all people wanting to give back and people wanting to help, that’s the satisfaction.”

The Salvation Army director of Jacksonville shares how grateful they are for the donation – and for what it means to families who would otherwise go without.

“For the last 2 years, there’s no way this turkey distribution could have happened without Casey Jones and his merry men,” Salvation Army Director of Development Robert Devers said.

It’s safe to say that the near-fatal plane crash in 2009 motivated Jones to make each day count and to pass forward his good luck.