Helping Hands: LI students thank Maria Fareri Children's Hospital staff who cared for bus crash victims
It has been almost three months since a bus carrying students from a Long Island high school overturned in Orange County, killing two staff members and injuring 40 students.
On Monday, officials from the Farmingdale School District went to Maria Fareri Children's Hospital in Valhalla to deliver thank you cards from the students.
Donna Worflar has been a nurse for 26 years. She says she has had thousands of patients, but not many thank-you cards.
Donna and her coworkers received about 15 boxes worth on Monday from the appreciative school district.
"What transpired on Sept. 21 was unimaginable," said Farmingdale Superintendent Paul Defendini.
"Kids were taken away by helicopter, by ambulance, and one at a time, I just didn't know whether or not those kids were ever going to come back," he said.
The bus, transporting students and adults from the Farmingdale School District to a band camp in Pennsylvania, veered off course near Wawayanda.
It crossed lanes and the shoulder before exiting the roadway westbound, eventually colliding with a barrier and coming to a stop at the bottom of a depression.
The driver and two front-row adult occupants were ejected. Band director Gina Pelletiere and chaperone Beatrice Ferrari lost their lives, while the driver sustained serious injuries.
Forty kids were taken to three different hospitals in the Hudson Valley, and 37 of them are now back at school.
"We can never repay you for the amount of care that you showed," said Farmingdale High School Principal Jed Herman.
But they can certainly try. About 3,000 elementary school children throughout the Farmingdale school district, wrote thank you cards to the staff at all three hospitals.
"These are our kid's handprints," explained Defendini. "And it says 'thank you for always holding our hand' and that's what you did. In the aftermath of the accident, you reached out your hand, you took our hands, and you held us through and you made us believe they were going to be OK."
"They appreciated us and that they're all doing well is more than thanks enough, and then this on top of it, is just even more," said Worflar.
The care those students received left a lasting impression.
"We've heard from kids, and they say now I want to be a police officer, now I want to be a nurse, now I want to be a doctor, and that's because of you," said Herman.