By Neena Strichart
I cannot find the words to express the sadness I have felt since learning of Wednesday’s tragic plane crash in Long Beach. So today I give my column to 8th District Councilmember Rae Gabelich to share her thoughts and feelings with all of you. Thank you, Rae, for so generously giving to all our readers.
A tragedy occurred Wednesday. A tragedy in Long Beach. The terrible crash at Long Beach Airport when five friends were on their way to enjoy some ski time together. They left their homes, their families and their business responsibilities to create another memory of friendship.
Instead, four of these young community leaders lost their lives in a fatal plane crash as they attempted to return to LGB. Their names are recognizable for their visible participation in the fabric of Long Beach life.
Mark Bixby, a fine man, with a famous Long Beach name, who had a dedicated commitment to inspire Long Beach to be a leader in the bicycle world. Mark’s efforts to raise awareness and inspire our city and port officials to strive to create a more inclusive path for bicyclists was his most recent passion. A father of three.
Tom Dean, considered by many to be one of the most influential businessmen in Long Beach. His legacy will surely include the Los Cerritos Wetlands project, but, more importantly, Tom was a father to four sons.
Jeff Berger, successful business partner with Tom Dean. A quiet, behind-the-scenes man, from my observation. Jeff was a father of three children.
Bruce Krall, financial representative to Tom and Jeff. Bruce was a father of two.
Mike Jensen, another successful young leader in the business world of Long Beach, survived the accident but remains in critical condition as this day comes to a close. Mike is father to three girls.
My heart hurts for the mothers and their children who today, lost their life as they have known it to be.
This tragedy serves to remind each one of us to remember that good-bye hug when we leave home, acknowledge the family we are given every day and make a practice of saying “I love you” to all the important people in our lives.
Thank you, gentlemen, for your commitments and your efforts to visibly weave your dreams and goals that have enriched the lives of so many, here in the city of Long Beach.