A Touching Story of Brotherhood
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Former member, and now FLM at Pueblo ATCT (PUB), Frank Spangler shares with us the true meaning of brotherhood. It is through its act of kindness and generosity, that this 100% NATCA facility shows us, despite any differences that may exist in the workplace, we can come together in strong solidarity to help a friend in need.
In May of 2010 my wife (Lorna) and I (Frank) got some great news. We were pregnant with our first child, a girl. The pregnancy was flawless. No morning sickness, no complications what so ever. I watched my wife grow, physically and emotionally. She fully embraced the whole experience and became a mother right before my eyes.
On Christmas morning we woke up with the anticipation that comes with the day. But for my wife something was different. We talked to my family, who reside in Ohio, on a newly purchased web cam as they watched us open the presents they had sent us. We said our goodbye's as Lorna and I got ready to open our presents to each other. I headed downstairs to get ready to continue our morning and waited for Lorna to join me. After a couple minutes I went to find what was keeping her. She was lying in bed, crying, holding her stomach. I asked what was going on and she said that she had not felt the baby move all morning. She drank some cold water and ate something sweet, all things that are suppose to make the baby start jumping around. Nothing happened. She called her doctor and was told to go get checked out at the hospital. As I sped towards the hospital and tried to comfort my wife, and myself, I dare not thought the worse.
We arrived at the hospital and went to the maternity floor where they put us in a room to wait while they got a machine ready. They rubbed her stomach with a wand to listen for the baby's heart beat. Nothing. They brought in a sonogram machine to see if they could get a visual of the heart beating. Nothing. They brought in a third machine to test, and at this point we knew the worst had happened. We had lost our baby girl on Christmas day, two weeks before her scheduled due date (11, Jan. 2011). It was a parent's nightmare. Some of the worst news was still to come for my wife. She had to still give birth. She had to go through the whole labor process knowing that we would be going home empty handed. The toughest experience we have and EVER hope to have to go thru in our life times.
We both took time off work to get our heads on straight. When I came back to the tower, the reception by my co-workers was great. You could see that they had real compassion and sympathy for what we just went through. At the end of the day my manager called me into his office and presented me with a card signed by all of my co-workers. Also inside the card was $1,100 in cash. While I was away they all had chipped in and donated their hard earned money in an attempt to comfort one of their own -- a friend going through a hard time. In a period when times are tough and it's easier to think about your own needs than someone else's, they chose to put a friend first. I'd now like to honor my fellow controllers by telling this story. This isn't something you hear of very often, and I think that their story of generosity deserves/needs to be told.
Air Traffic Control Specialist / FLM
Pueblo ATCT, Pueblo Colorado