Victims’ families keep memories alive
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.
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
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.