Nacke was on United Flight 93, which crashed in Stonycreek Township on Sept. 11, 2011, after the passengers and crew fought the terrorists for control of the hijacked plane. The terrorists were targeting Washington, D.C.
Since his cousin's death, White has made it his personal mission to ensure that the Flight 93 National Memorial is completed to honor those who were on the flight. White is a land-use attorney and of-counsel with the Florida law firm Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP. He negotiated all land acquisitions for the Families of Flight 93. He is also on the memorial's Federal Advisory Commission and had served as vice president of the Families of Flight 93.
On Saturday White was elected president of the Families of Flight 93, succeeding Gordon Felt, who will remain as an emeritus board member. Felt is also on the Federal Advisory Commission. Felt, the fourth president of the Families of Flight 93, has served three consecutive three-year terms as a board member, the term limit specified by board bylaws.
"There is nothing I can say about Gordy that is not nice," White said in a telephone interview. "I will make every effort to follow his example. He has set a high bar. I have relationships built on my skill sets and I have seen how Gordy conducts himself. He is the consummate statesman. He represented us with class with a capital C. He is a great person and a tremendous leader and I will be conferring with him on a regular basis."
Felt is the brother of Edward Porter Felt, who was a passenger on Flight 93. Edward Felt's widow, Sandy Felt, was elected as the new vice president.
Gordon Felt said White is as dedicated to seeing through to the completion of the memorial as anybody else. He has already been a major contributor to the process and will continue to contribute.
"We work very well together and will continue to do so," he said. "I will support him 100 percent. As an advisory commission member, I will continue to be very involved with the memorial."
National Parks Superintendent Jeff Reinbold said the staff is very happy with White's election as president.
"He was instrumental in moving the project forward," Reinbold said. "I look forward to continuing to work with him."
The most important thing that happened during his tenure as president was the dedication of the memorial on the 10th anniversary, Felt said. Ten years ago the Families of Flight 93 and the other partners in the process didn't have a clear vision of what they wanted or how they would get it done. A design competition was conducted and the first phase of the memorial was built.
"When you look at the big picture, we've come an amazing distance in 10 years," he said. "It couldn't have been done quicker."
The first phase of the memorial was dedicated on Sept. 10. The designs for Phase 1B will be submitted this week, White said, and the construction drawings will be done by July. Phase 1B consists of the visitors center, the footprint for a learning center, portal walls, preparation for the 40 groves and a pathway from the center down to the memorial. The center will be on a hill.
A windbreak of trees on the hill to serve as a stabilizer for the grove trees may be part of Phase 1B. In keeping with the memorial's environmentally friendly design, pumps will be used to pump out acid mine drainage water to be used for gray water for the commodes. Phase 1B is to be completed by September 2014.
"We are on the cusp of announcing another land acquisition," White said.
Private and public donors had contributed $52 million to the memorial as of November. An additional $10 million is needed for the completion of the memorial. The Families asked for $3.2 million during a November meeting with the Office of Management and Budget.
There are a number of fundraising initiatives that came from the dedication that White hopes will take place, including a pledge by former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and House Speaker John Boehner to hold a joint fundraising event.
"Wherever we can find appropriate funding sources we will," White said. "We will bite off as many pieces of the elephant as we can, even in light of these challenging economic times."