AHWATUKEE — A Valley family returned to the site where their loved one was killed nearly one month ago.
Mike Papendick was on board a helicopter that crashed mid-air with a plane near Chandler Airport.
A second person on the chopper was also killed. But, even during such tragic times, the Valley community is here to help.
Becca Papendick is honoring her late husband Mike by vowing to carry on the plans they had already made together, with their one-year-old daughter Aubrey.
"She is what's getting me out of bed every morning and what's keeping me motivated to keep going," says Becca.
It's been nearly four weeks since the collision. Mike, a student pilot, and the flight instructor aboard the helicopter were both killed. The plane was able to land safely.
Becca has been taking things day by day since then, with help from family and the Ahwatukee community.
Zzeeks Pizza held a raffle this week in support, raising $1,500. Becca's workplace, Elements Massage in Gilbert, has also helped to collect funds.
"It literally takes a village to raise a family, and our village is here," says Papendick.
A preliminary NTSB report states both aircraft had been in parallel traffic patterns near Chandler Municipal Airport, getting ready to land when they collided a short time later.
Mike died doing what he loved. He was hoping to turn flying into a career after serving seven years in the U.S. Navy.
"If Mike could see the impact he's made on everybody's life, he would be in... he would just be in disbelief," says Papendick.
Mike's celebration of life was held one day before Aubrey's first birthday. Becca bought her a gift to hold her daddy close to her heart forever.
The investigation into the collision is ongoing.
If you would like to help the Papendick family, you can donate here.