I was waitressing at the Mel-O-Dee Restaurant (North Tr., Sarasota, FL) on May 9, 1980. I recall several people in shock walking in the restaurant to use our payphone to call family and report the Sunshine Skyway Bridge had just collapsed before their eyes.

A huge freighter struck the Skyway bridge during a storm sending several cars and a Greyhound bus into the waters of Tampa Bay. Thirty-five people died. I was only 21 years old at the time and it was my first experience with people that had suffered a traumatic loss out of their control. The emotional, psychological, economical and financial consequences of this disaster left an imprint on my mind. It took years for the Bridge to be re-built. I remember thinking about how tragic for this happen to these people and their families and what happened was inflicted upon them due to nothing they did or could prevent.

Sherry Ellis