Sully: Our Hometown Hero Back Home with Sully and Lorrie Sullenberger M I C H A E L C O P E L A N D The following article originally appeared in the April 2009 issue of ALIVE. News photo by Associated Press. Photos by Mardi Beck. Prior to January 15th, Lorrie Sullenberger was the most famous person in the Sullenberger household. As a featured fitness expert on ABC-7’s View from the Bay, contributing writer for ALIVE Magazine and creator of the Fit and Fabulous Outdoors TV show, Lorrie was often recognized when she shopped or when she and the family dined out. Then Lorrie’s husband, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, and his courageous crew, miraculously carried out the successful water landing of a US Airways Airbus A320 (flight 1549), on the Hudson River in New York City. At that moment their lives were forever changed. “We haven’t been home for more than a few days since then,” Lorrie told me when we all sat down to talk one Friday afternoon. “We’ve always enjoyed a certain amount of predictability and routine since moving to Danville, thirteen years ago. We miss that level of calm. It feels nice to just be at home enjoying dinners together again.” Overnight, Sully became a legitimate national hero at a time when the country desperately needed one, and the Sullenbergers went from being an ordinary suburban family to international celebrities. While they know that the intense and demanding schedule A L I V E 24 E A S T B A Y o c t o b e r 2 0 1 6 will eventually settle down, they can also accept that their lives will never be the same. “I thought initially the story would run its course and eventually fade away when the next big story happened,” Sully says, “but due in large part to the wide variety of media outlets that are available it has garnered worldwide attention and seems to have taken on a life of its own.” Since that fateful day, Sully, Lorrie, and at times their daughters Kelly and Kate, have been living a whirlwind existence of media attention and public appearances. Sully has done interviews with 60 Minutes, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America and People Magazine. He has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and Larry King Live. He has been a celebrated guest at the Presidential Inauguration, the Superbowl, the Oscars and the President’s nationally televised speech to Congress. All of this has fueled a never-ending desire for the American public to connect with our hometown hero. The Sullenbergers agree that timing had a lot to do with interest in the story. “People seem to need a good news story right now. This event seems to have given them hope,” Lorrie says.
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