Siouxlanders turn hurt into hope after Flight 232 crash - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Siouxlanders turn hurt into hope after Flight 232 crash

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - On July 19, 1989, 112 people died when United Airlines Flight 232 crash landed at Sioux Gateway Airport.

The tragic event of the past has helped to shape Siouxland's future for the better, even creating a benefit for thousands of Siouxlanders.

Heartbreak and sadness filled Siouxland after Flight 232 crash landed in Sioux City 25 years ago.  While the initial shock has faded, the memories remain.  

Now, looking back, there's also hope that's come from the tragedy.  Many Siouxlanders have benefited from it in several ways.

After the crash, United Airlines established a $600,000 trust fund.  From the money, grants are distributed to local emergency response teams.

Siouxland Dive Rescue received a $1,500 grant again this year.

"We depend on donations and grants and the Siouxland Foundation has just been phenomenal for us," says Lorraine Groves with Siouxland Dive Rescue.  "We got our first grant grant in 1996 and we've gotten four through the years.  We've purchased dive gear sets, gloves, suits, and hoodies."

Since the fund started 25 years ago, the grants allow first responders to buy equipment they need, but can't afford.

Battle Creek, Iowa's volunteer fire department received $1,500 for a new pumper truck this year.

"I think it's great that Siouxland area volunteer, departments, and ambulance services received these because funding is an issue for a lot of the area departments and having something that we can rely is a great benefit for us," says Kevin Dausel, the treasurer of the Battle Creek Volunteer Fire Department.

In addition to the trust fund, the crew members of Flight 232 started a scholarship fund.  The scholarships are specifically for graduates of Siouxland high schools who plan to pursue a career in the medical field, like Riley Ehlers.  The Maple Valley-Anthon Oto graduate received $2,000 to help pay her tuition at Morningside.

"It's like a circle, because they helped people out at Flight 232 to where they're helping me go to school where I can hope to eventually help somebody else," says Ehlers.

Planning to become a dentist, she hopes to honor the memory of the crash victims.

"The Flight 232 crash was in the past, but yet still being remembered in the future," says Ehlers.

Cassandra Stowe also received the Flight Crew scholarship.  The money will go toward her physical therapy degree to help people get back on their feet.  Stowe is just one more example of how the tragedy has turned into success.

"Other people have benefited from it and have been able to succeed in life from it, even though it was a horrible thing that happened," says Stowe.

Through both funds, nearly a million dollars has been invested to benefit the lives of Siouxlanders over the past 25 years.

"Every year, there has been a huge community impact, because there's individuals being touched on a daily basis because of the people who receive the funding from the 232 scholarship and United Airlines funds," says Rebecca Krohn, the Executive Director of the Siouxland Community Foundation.

Since the scholarship and grant money come from the interest earned on the principal of the funds, Krohn says that ensures that the positive impact will be felt for years to come.

The grant and scholarship recipients will receive their awards Friday night.  As part of the 25th anniversary of the crash, the flight crew, first responders, and donors will be there to meet the recipients.

KTIV will be covering all of the events taking place in remembrance of the 25th anniversary of the crash.  The events kick off Friday afternoon.  They're free and open to the public.

Click here for a complete list of events planned for the 25th anniversary weekend.

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