Tina Mayfield and Michelle McMonigle
Tina Mayfield (TM): In the early 1990s I joined Delta Care Team as a volunteer. And in 1996 Swissair crashed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I was called. And I thought, "Oh, I don't know if I can do this." And it was a moment in my life when I realized that there is an internal strength that you sometimes don't realize, you don't reach in and pull it out and show that you have it, until you're called upon to do something that is the unthinkable. And during Swissair I helped two different families. The first family I helped was very high-profile, so it was a very different family in the sense that they kept being spoken to by the media. The second family I helped was a mother and a father who had lost their daughter. Their daughter was very close to my age. And two different families, two different needs. It gave me an opportunity to do something that made me feel so honored and humble and realize I love whatever this is. I want to do this for the rest of my life. I manage a program with approximately 2700 volunteers all over the world, and every time I train them most people walk away with the same feeling I walked away with, of "I don't know if I can do this," or "When you get the call I'm not sure if I can." But having recent experience of going to Brussels I can tell you you always can. It's a great way to give back.
Michelle McMonigle (MM): We've talked about the Brussels experience a lot over the past couple of weeks since we've been back. I just remember you and I both went into action. You packed me up on a [LAUGHTER] 9:00pm flight, and that's when all of a sudden, you know, "All right; this is real."
MM: Because there we are coming up with a plan for how can we locate passengers that right now are still unconfirmed? What can we do or what do we do once we do confirm that they're at certain hospitals? There is a bond that develops that until you've experienced you just truly can't understand it. I get the passion now.
TM: You have now drank the Kool-Aid.
MM: I have.
MM: But it was the people that we tangibly helped in Brussels...
MM:...that for me made the connection.
TM: For me, the very first conversation that I had with one of the family members who was helping his daughter who had lost her husband, when I said, "This is what we're going to do for you--we're going to have someone meet you. We're going to book you a flight. We're going to have a car meet you. We have a hotel already set up for you. And you don't need to worry about anything." And he was just, like, "You're going to do what?" So I repeated it again, and he was, like, "But you don't have to do that." And I said, "We don't have to, but this is what we want to do. We're here for you." And it just completely surprises me how people were willing to stay away from their spring breaks, and Easter vacation, and just totally dedicated to the cause. You don't regret it. It's not one of those things where you look back at the things that you missed; you really look at it seeing the things that you gained...
TM: ...and the people you got to help.