Back in the summer of 1985, Kelli Bartee and her parents drove her cousin to DFW Airport. As soon as they got home, they turned on the TV to see that a plane crashed just after they left the airport.
The flight was Delta Flight 191—traveling from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Los Angeles, California with a scheduled stop in Dallas. When the plane attempted to land at DFW Airport during a severe storm, a sudden microburst occurred with such strong force that it pushed the plane towards the ground. Despite the pilot trying to take control, the storm caused the plane to go beyond the runway and crash into Highway 114.
“We sat there for a moment in awe, knowing we were just at the airport about 30 minutes earlier,” Kelli said.
Within seconds, rescue crews were at the crash site making every effort to save as many people as possible. Kelli remembers that day vividly and said, “Blood banks in the area were asking that anyone that was able to, especially with my dad’s blood type, to head to their nearest hospital to donate blood.”
Without hesitation, her father drove to the hospital during the storm to give blood in an effort to help save the lives of those passengers who survived the crash. From that day forward, the importance of giving blood has always stuck with Kelli.
One hundred twenty-eight people died during and after the Delta Flight 191 crash—with 28 survivors. If it wasn’t for the help of the rescue crews and the DFW community, more lives could have been lost.
Today, Kelli still reflects on the tragedy that occurred on August 2, 1985, because it showed her the impact of blood donation. She continues to donate to this day, as she knows there will always be a need for blood in the community because ultimately, it’s the blood on the shelves that saves lives when tragedy strikes, not the blood being donated in the midst of chaos.
“When it comes to giving blood, hopefully my loss is someone else’s gain.”