Vic­tims’ fam­i­lies keep mem­o­ries alive

The Buffalo News - - WASHINGTON NEWS -

a home away from home for fam­i­lies with hos­pi­tal­ized chil­dren.

And at high schools and col­leges through­out West­ern New York and the na­tion, schol­ar­ships bear the names of those who died on Flight 3407.

And that’s just part of myr­iad char­i­ta­ble ef­forts that now stretch across the world.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to ac­cu­rately quan­tify all of this char­i­ta­ble work, sim­ply be­cause some fam­i­lies keep their ef­forts pri­vate. But just the hand­ful of ex­am­ples cited in this story to­tal more than $1 mil­lion.

It proves that those who died in the crash left plenty of spe­cial peo­ple be­hind, said John Kaus­ner, El­lyce Kaus­ner’s father and one of the long­time lead­ers of the Fam­i­lies of Con­ti­nen­tal Flight 3407.

“It’s a stel­lar group of peo­ple, and I think it re­flects the kind of peo­ple who were on that plane – and their hearts, their abil­i­ties,” Kaus­ner said.

Elly’s An­gels

Laura Kaus­ner Voigt stood in the gym­na­sium of Lock­port High School, mi­cro­phone in hand Sun­day af­ter­noon, with young cheer­lead­ers all around. There she summed up the phi­los­o­phy of Elly’s An­gels.

“The great­est tragedy brings out the great­est good­ness in peo­ple,” she said.

It’s cer­tainly brought out good in Kaus­ner Voigt, who lost her sis­ter El­lyce in the crash and has raised more than $200,000 in her mem­ory.

Elly’s An­gels works with Adop­tion STAR, a non­profit agency, to pair spe­cial-needs chil­dren with new par­ents. Elly’s An­gels has helped pair about a half dozen chil­dren with new fam­i­lies, and that’s just part of its work.

The group brings young girls to­gether to vol­un­teer at char­i­ties such as Ride for Roswell, the Spe­cial Olympics and the Food Bank of West­ern New York.

The idea, Kaus­ner Voigt said, is to help young girls be­come strong, con­fi­dent young women like her sis­ter.

That’s harder for some girls than it is for oth­ers, and Elly’s An­gels pro­vides spe­cial help in such cases.

In one such in­stance, Elly’s An­gels pro­vided years of fi­nan­cial sup­port for a fam­ily whose young daugh­ter was hit by a van and left in a semi-con­scious state.

When the girl died three years later, Kaus­ner Voigt said, she was buried with a pic­ture of Elly Kaus­ner.

Elly’s An­gels raises money through cheer­lead­ing com­pe­ti­tions like the one that took place in Lock­port on Sun­day. In turn, the money raised helps young girls like Asia Ed­wards, 6, of Buf­falo, who will be

Sharon Can­til­lon/Buf­falo News

Ron Aught­mon, top, with Ron­ald McDon­ald House Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Sally Vin­cent, has raised about $178,000 over the years for Ron­ald McDon­ald House in mem­ory of his un­cle, John Fiore, who died in the crash of Flight 3407. Left, John Kaus­ner con­grat­u­lates his grand­daugh­ter, Lizzie Kaus­ner, af­ter her group per­formed at the Elly’s An­gels cheer­lead­ing com­pe­ti­tion Sun­day at Lock­port High School. The group helps em­power young women and fa­cil­i­tates adop­tion of spe­cial-needs chil­dren.

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