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Madison county pays tribute to those it lost

RICHMOND — Brian Byrd’s family attended a Sunday memorial wearing T-shirts emblazoned with an image of a dove.

The shirts were made shortly after Byrd, 28, died aboard Comair Flight 5191 nearly two years ago. Dove images also are part of a memorial fountain in honor of all six Madison County residents killed in the crash.

“It was a really good omen,” said Byrd’s older sister, Melissa Byrd Hill, who got a tattoo of a dove on her foot after the first anniversary.

The project for the fountain was coordinated by Richmond resident Brian Huybers, 16, who worked on the concept for nearly a year as an Eagle Scout project. The fountain is etched with 49 doves — one for each person who died on 5191.

Along with Byrd, those from Madison County who lost their lives were Carole Bizzack, 64, Lynda McKee, 58, Cecile Moscoe, 29, Victoria Washington, 54, and Judy Rains, 35.

The memorial is just inside the gates of the Lake Reba Recreational Complex in Madison County.

The center of the fountain is a cylinder that tapers upward and bears the engravings of the 49 doves. Around the base of the fountain are six granite plaques inscribed with the name and age of each person who died. A seventh plaque describes what happened to Comair Flight 5191.

“Before dawn on Aug. 27, 2006, the Atlanta-bound commuter jet that was Comair Flight 5191 crashed on takeoff from Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, killing 49 of the 50 people on board, including these six from Madison county,” the plaque reads.

Cecile Moscoe’s mother, Kathy Moscoe, said her daughter used to play softball in that complex, along with Byrd and Rains. Only after their deaths did the family realize that all three were on the same softball team together.

“I’m very appreciative,” Kathy Moscoe said. “I think it’s a fitting tribute. I think it’s just amazing that a teenager could spearhead this and get it done.”

The Rev. Robert Blythe, a Richmond city commissioner, was one of several to offer prayers to the families and the victims during the dedication. He noted that the evening felt pleasant and quiet.

“There’s something about the feeling of this evening that’s so reminiscent of that morning,” he said.

Several families of the Madison County victims were present, as were others from as far away as Fayette County.

“They thought enough to include everyone,” said Mary Cloyd, whose close friends Priscilla Johnson and Jo Ann Wright died in the crash.

Brian Huybers didn’t know any of the Madison County victims but was proud to be part of the tribute.

“It makes me feel honored and humbled at the same time,” he said.

The Flight 5191 Memorial Commission has been working on a memorial in Lexington for about a year. The commission has not selected a location, but it is about to issue a request for a proposal for an artist to come up with a design.