Amy Anderson took a leave of absence to dedicate herself to charitable fundraising.

Classic "Proudly I Fly" stories:

"My Uniform"
Aviation "Thank You"
Why Does Mary Fly?
Turning Loss into Action
Flying the Flag
Joy in Giving

  REGISTER to receive our monthly newsletter - with updates as we strive to promote aviation professionals who are doing for others, enter your email address:


For "Links" to Aviation Charities Click here

Please Tell-A-Friend about this site.

Do you have an aviation topic of importance to suggest to Tom? Click here

Finding Joy in Giving

By Amy Anderson
American Airlines Flight Attendant
Boston Base

My two children were 5 and 3 on 9/11. My eldest, a boy, has autism. When my second child was born - about the time we realized our first had autism - I cut back on my flying schedule with American Airlines out of Boston. For three years, beginning with the birth of my second child, I flew one flight and one flight only each month - it was Flight 11, the non-stop from Logan to LA.

During that time, my life was a juggling challenge. Even with the one flight a month, I still had to explore therapy options with my son, while attending to an infant. Life was hectic and constantly I wondered how I would ever manage - then came 9/11. That day shook me to the core, to lose such close friends, and to know the flight so intimately. For three years it was the only flight I had worked. That's all I could think of, that plane. Gate 32. What the light was like each morning, once a month, when I had stepped aboard.

To lose friends. That was the overpowering part. Our base is a small one. We are so close. I doubted whether I could ever recover.

I flew again three weeks after that day. It was early October of 2001, and I flew that day, because I wanted to, but then I decided that my life was passing me by too quickly. After the loss of 9/11, I wasn't giving my full attention to the truly important things, like my family. After 9/11, I made a decision to take a leave of absence from flying and devote myself full time to helping autistic children.

What an inspiration it has been. On the South Shore, where I live, I was already a founding board member of the Autism Center of the South Shore (ACSS.) This non-profit support center located in Weymouth, Massachusetts offers programs, support groups, a lending library, a website, educational seminars and various events throughout the year for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their family members. I had been an active member, since we first learned of our son's autism, but now I wanted to devote exclusive energy to this cause.

One of the first things I did was become a co-captain of a team with seventy-five plus people who participate each year in the Greater Boston NAAR (National Alliance for Autism Research) Walk. I feel good that I personally was able to raise $29,000 for research. Moreover, our team became the third highest fundraising team in Massachusetts. In addition, my best friend and I have designed an autism awareness bracelet in conjunction with a well-known local jewelry designer. A portion of the proceeds go to NAAR. We have sold many and continue to sell them.

As I dove into these efforts, little by little I felt myself getting better. Not better, because you never get better, one can never get over a loss like that day, but better in the sense that contributing to a positive cause has helped me move forward again.

I concluded my leave of absence and have returned to flying again. I am back at Logan once more, doing my job.

I'm back up in the air again.

Any comments? Anything you'd like to share?

Enter your comments below. (If you have a longer "story" to tell, or a story about your experiences, please feel free to go to the PROUDLY I FLY page click here.)


Readers' comments will be discussed in the next edition of our email newsletter. To register for your copy, click here

If you find this forum useful - please tell a friend. The more people who join in, the richer the results for all.