Pa. family is touched twice by tragedies Four from Montoursville who are at Atlanta Games knew TWA crash victims

July 28, 1996|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA -- Rod Bratton and his family left one tragedy last week and headed right into another.

The family is from Montoursville, Pa., and Bratton, his wife, Jeanne, and their two teen-age sons knew most of the 21 people from that town who died in the crash of TWA Flight 800.

The Brattons were sitting at a table late yesterday afternoon outside Olympic Stadium, waiting to get into the second night of the track and field competition. Just as what happened to their neighbors and friends on Flight 800 will not prevent them from flying in the future, what happened here early yesterday at Centennial Olympic Park will not deter them from attending the 1996 Olympic Games.

"The whole situation with Flight 800 was that something like that can happen to anyone, there's nothing you can do about it" said Bratton, a physical therapist who was wearing a green-and-white baseball cap with Montoursville United Soccer Club written on the front.

"We had a difficult time leaving," he said. "We delayed our trip by a day so we could attend the church service. We feel for the families of the victims here, too. We got calls from people at home at 3: 30 in the morning concerned about our welfare."

And Jeanne Bratton was thankful for what she saw as a heightened sense of security getting into the Olympic venues that were open for business as usual yesterday.

"I found myself thanking the people opening my bags," she said.

One of those security officers, Ron Goodpaster of Tiger, Ore., didn't notice much difference between the fans who came through the security booths yesterday and those who had been through during the first week of the Games. Nor was there a difference in the way Goodpaster did his job.

"I think the security checks at the venues have always been tight," said Goodpaster, a senior security officer here and a police officer back home. "But it [the bombing] brought it to the front of our minds."

Pub Date: 7/28/96

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