SEPT. 20, 2011 - Cheryl Elvin, 71, of Lenexa, Kansas died as a result of injuries she sustained at the Reno Air Show. She worked at NBC Action News for 20 years.(Image provided.)
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
JOHNSON COUNTY, Mo. - Bill Elvin doesn't ever ask, "Why me?" Rather, he finds himself asking "Why not me?"
Elvin survived the Reno Air Race crash of 2011 along with his father, brother and sister-in-law. Each one lost a part of their right leg. Elvin’s mother Cherie died instantly.
“It was an accident and accidents can happen anywhere, to anybody at any time," Elvin explained.
He just returned to Kansas City on Monday night after a trip back to Reno to say thank you. He made the trip with his wife and father.
Everyday, Elvin feels grateful for the quick-acting emergency workers who saved their lives. He’s also thankful for the air race community that has supported his family over the last year.
“It's really been a moving experience,” he said, adding that the trip was a chance to honor his mother's memory, too.
During a ceremony, the Elvin family was presented with an American flag in honor of their mother and the others who lost their lives. Then balloons were released in remembrance.
"People who fought to save lives brought a balloon forward and released it into the air in their name," he said.
While the experience offered a chance to heal, it also put the Elvin family in close proximity to low-flying planes again.
At first, a plane performing a low fly-over rattled Elvin.
"When the sound hit me, I instantly ducked. It just instantly took me back there," he described.
Elvin recalled quickly catching his breath. He said he knew the races are safe and, sometimes, for one reason or another, accidents happen.
“Mom loved the races. She loved having us be there and if we just walked away from it because of one day, we'd kind of be dishonoring her and her memory,” he said.
Elvin said he couldn’t speak for everyone in the family, but he plans to return to the Reno Air Races to continue to honor Cherie’s memory.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.