A Hero's Homecoming
updated 02/09/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 02/09/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST
While his Jan. 15 Hudson River landing may have amazed the world, friends and colleagues were not surprised. "I call him Cool Hand Luke," says neighbor Joe Green, 81, who went blind seven years ago but refused to use a guide dog. Then Sully and his wife helped him get one. "It changed my life," says Green. "He was my hero before he ever landed that plane."
Sully's wife, Lorrie, 50, who like their two teenage daughters beamed with pride at the rally, echoed that thought. "For me, he's the man who makes my cup of tea every morning," she said through tears. "I knew what the outcome would be that day, because I knew my husband."