Flight 93 group names new leader

Mary Pickels
| Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, 12:19 a.m.

The brother of a United Flight 93 passenger has been named president of the Families of Flight 93 by the organization's board of directors.

Gordon Felt of Remsen, N.Y., will succeed Patrick White, who will become vice president.

Felt's brother, Edward Porter Felt, was one of 40 passengers and crew members aboard Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.

All died when the plane, taken over by terrorists, crashed in a field in Stonycreek Township in Somerset County.

The passengers and crew are believed to have fought back against the terrorists, preventing the plane from reaching presumed targets in the nation's capital.

Felt served three consecutive three-year terms on the Families of Flight 93 board, the limit the organization's bylaws permit.

He served as an emeritus member in 2012 as White, whose cousin was Flight 93 passenger Louis Joseph Nacke II, took on the role of president.

“I am honored to return as president of the Families of Flight 93 and thank Patrick White for his tenure and unwavering commitment to preserving the legacy of our loved ones,” Felt said in a release.

“As the National Memorial prepares to embark on phase two of construction this spring, Patrick and I will work closely with other Families members and Flight 93 partners to ensure that progress remains steady and completion is certain,” he said.

White, a land-use attorney in Florida, will continue to focus on design and construction issues, as well as property acquisition to complete the protective land buffer around the memorial.

Other officers announced include Carole O'Hare as secretary, and Calvin Wilson as treasurer.

O'Hare's mother, Hilda Marcin, was a Flight 93 passenger. Wilson's brother-in-law, Leroy Homer Jr., was the plane's co-pilot.

Felt will continue to serve as a member of the Flight 93 Advisory Commission, a federal board responsible for providing recommendations to the Interior Department and the National Park Service on the planning, construction and long-term management of the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville.

The memorial's first phase was dedicated on Sept. 10, 2011, in time for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Construction of the second phase is expected to begin this year and be completed by Sept. 11, 2014.

According to plans revealed during the 11th anniversary observations, a visitors center and an education center will be constructed. The buildings will be used for teleconferences, panel discussions and displays of memorabilia left at the temporary memorial.

Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of the National Park Service for Western Pennsylvania, said in September that staff members and volunteers want to better reach the children who visit the memorial.

Design work on a “Tower of Voices“ that will be illuminated at night and contain 40 wind chimes is awaiting funding.

More than 300,000 people visited the memorial in 2012, according to National Park Service figures.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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