Penfield, N.Y.— From the moment Jim Schwab got news that his cousin Alex Sullivan may be one of the victims in the shooting at a movie theatre in Aurora, CO, he wanted nothing more than to be with his aunt and uncle.
“On Friday, as the day went on, it looked worse and worse,” says Schwab. “When we got the news at 10:30 p.m., everyone’s first thought was, ‘When can we get out there as soon as possible?”
Sullivan, 27, was at the Century 16 Theater watching “The Dark Knight Rises” to celebrate his birthday with his friends.
When Sullivan was unaccounted for after the shooting, his family had hoped he was at a hospital, but in the end, the family got news that Alex was killed.
Sullivan’s parents, Tom and Terry, are both from the Rochester area and the family has about 25 aunts, uncles and cousins living in the area.
Jim Schwab says his brother Steve was beginning to make arrangements for some of the family to fly out to Colorado for Alex’s funeral this week. When Steve told the United Airlines ticket agent over the phone why the family was planning to go out there, the agent told Steve the airline could help them out.
United Airlines has offered the families of victims who died complementary roundtrip tickets to Colorado. Now the entire family plans on going.
“It was going to hardship,” says Jim. “With last minute plane fares and such, but it's amazing. We're all going to be able to out there and be together now even more.
I think it's very important for [the Sullivans] to have the whole family there.”
Jim says United Airlines’ generosity and the kindness of the people who have donated to the funds set up for the victims and their families makes him proud of this country.
“It warms my heart,” he says. “It's a fantastic example for my kids. It shows what this country is made of. For all of us to see that and for the families to see that…That's how this country operates it. It's amazing.”