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Families Of Comair Crash Victims Hope To Be Involved In Memorial

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - The commission planning a memorial for the victims of Comair Flight 5191 doesn't include any relatives of those who died, leaving some family members worried about how much say they'll have in the memorial.

The plane crashed shortly after takeoff at Blue Grass Airport last August, killing 49 of 50 on board. Work on a permanent memorial is expected to begin next week. The memorial commission will meet for the first time on July 18 and includes representatives from state and local government and several charities, but no family members.

"It's hard for me to understand how those who have the most to gain from this memorial are the least involved - that's hardly democratic," said Sarah King Fortney, whose husband C.W. Fortney died in the crash. "The generous gift this community offered the 5191 families is one intended to be of comfort and meaning. How can it be either if we have no say in its construction?"

Ray Garman, chairman of the Aviation Museum of Kentucky's board, said the commission didn't choose any family members because it didn't want to select which members would and would not be on the board.

Garman said the commission's work will be "driven by the wishes of the families."

Hospice of the Bluegrass and other agencies will meet with family members to "relay information about the commission's proceedings, obtain feedback and ideas from family members and bring that feedback to the commission as your representatives," Garman wrote in a letter to the families.

Fortney said she wants to be involved in the planning process, but isn't sure what role she and other family members will be able to have.

"My only concern is how these agencies will involve families and that the families feel they have a voice," she said.

Garman said family members will be allowed to attend all commission meetings and that there will be at least one meeting set aside to gather input from the families.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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