CLARENCE -- A long list of thanks poured out from the Families of Continental Flight 3407 this afternoon as they met with local Congressional delegates in Clarence Town Hall -- a day after President Obama signed an aviation safety bill into law.
More than two dozen family and friends of crash victims gathered to thank lawmakers, community leaders, volunteers and many others who helped them push for the aviation changes.
"From day one, you folks were here for us in Western New York," said John Kausner, who lost his daughter in the crash.
Kausner and more than two dozen family and friends of the crash victims met privately with Sen. Charles Schumer, Rep. Chris Lee and Rep. Brian Higgins in Clarence Town Hall this afternoon before speaking to reporters.
Karen Eckert, who lost her sister, Beverly, in the crash, expressed a long list of gratitude for those who helped pass the bill. She said it was "535 long days" between the February 2009 crash and the day the legislation was signed into law.
"It seemed to us like an eternity," Eckert said. "But nothing works fast in Washington."
Listen to Eckert's remarks and the people she wanted to thank in this audio clip from the news conference this afternoon:
The bill, she said, is just the first step. The group plans to continue to work to ensure the changes included in the bill are implemented.
"We were committed as a group," Eckert said of friends and family who came together after the crash to push for aviation safety reform. "We wore red as a symbol of the passion and our love for those who we lost."
Kausner expressed thanks to the hundreds who showed up in February to walk from the crash site in Clarence to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport on the first anniversary.
"What a marvelous community we come from," Kausner said.