APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. – It was an emotional Thanksgiving weekend for a Valley mom who lost her three young children in a plane crash in the Superstition Mountains one year ago.
Karen Perry, surrounded by friends and loved ones, hiked to the crash site to pay tribute to the three young lives lost.
“To me, it’s like it happened yesterday,” Perry said. “It’s just that this year has been completely surreal."
Perry’s nightmare began on Thanksgiving Eve 2011 when the plane went down in the rugged Superstitions. Her ex-husband, Shawn Perry, was on board, along with their children. Shawn was killed, along with 9-year-old Morgan, 8-year-old Logan, and 6-year-old Luke.
The children had been on their way to Safford to spend time with their father.
It was a year filled with heartache for Perry as she coped with the loss of her family. But she said hiking to the crash site this past weekend was a step in the healing process.
“I want them to be remembered,” she said.
The still-grieving mom carried a plaque into the mountains this weekend. It’s a tribute to the children and will remain near the crash site.
“So for me, putting that up there is a way that, you know, that people that are hiking up the mountain can remember them,” Perry said.
The kids are also remembered at Morgan's and Luke's special needs school, where a library and a tribute have been established.
But it's in the Superstition Mountains where Perry said she feels closest to them.
“This hike is also a visitation of their grave site,” she said. “I miss them terribly. I miss them a lot.”