Beaver Island Community Gathers to Mourn Lost Loved Ones: Plane Crash Claims Four Lives at Island Airways
Saturday, November 13th, 2021
Beaver Island, Michigan
When the sirens go off on Beaver Island, everyone that knows and loves everyone cringes to think, Who?
When a small plane crashes, the news spreads quickly and everyone’s heart is immediately broken to wonder, who have we lost? What families will be suffering on this day?
On this day, we lost so much.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Mike Perdue, Kate Leese, and husband Adam Kendall, of Beaver Island and William Julian of Traverse City, Michigan. Christy Perdue, Michael’s wife, and mother of their four children , is the daughter of local resident, Carl Heller. Mike is a well-known, respected and loved member of the community, and a realtor in Gaylord, Michigan. William Julian was a commercial pilot at Traverse City, semi-retired and a recent part-time addition to Welke Airport.
Kate and Adam brought their family and dreams to Beaver Island in 2019. The happy, loving couple also brought love to all of the island community and all others they met along the way. Much like Mike and Christy Perdue, they gave hope and inspiration and so much love to all they met.
Federal Aviation officials were present to investigate the crash over two days and gave an official statement to local news stations and the Northern-Islander Newspaper. A complete report from that interview will be available later today.
John Brannen, senior air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board and other members of the FAA team stated that the investigation will continue for months as investigators dig into the details of the weather conditions, flight records and the many other factors that will help determine some official and final report about the crash.
United States Coast Guard officials were only ten minutes away when the planes internal notification signal reached them. Fortunately, they were able to respond within those minutes and rescue Laney Perdue, the 11-year-old daughter of Mike and Christy Perdue. Laney and William Julian were immediately airlifted to the mainland where Julian died, and Laney was transported to Grand Rapids Children’s Hospital where she remains under care and reported to be stable.
Response was immediate and swift from across the island as residents quickly made plans to contact the family and rescue 2100 grape vines planted at Kate and Adam’s Antho Wine Farm. Dozens of residents met the family with food from Harbour Market Bodega at the farm to cover the young vines while cold temperatures and dangerous weather swirled around the grieving army.
Meanwhile, others gathered downtown at a recently installed art structure, brought to the island last year by Burning Man Festival coordinator, Nathan Altman. Altman and partner Sarah Mueller, Northern-Islander editor, Cynthia Johnson, and Kate Nix lit a ceremonial fire in the fire platform of the sculpture. The traditional, culturally connected fire is lit and kept burning so that people can gather to send positive thoughts and help the lost loved ones find their spirit homes. The small group offered prayers and mantras throughout the long night of grief and mourning while others brought firewood and joined them in the harbor. On Sunday evening, hundreds attended a heart-rendering service led by Father Peter Wigdon of the Beaver Island Holy Cross Catholic Church.
Altman’s InnerSun project was designed with the goal of bringing communities together and was first lit for Summer Solstice in June 2021. The community had already gathered for the installation and celebrations and/or casual gatherings already this year. Constructed as a geodesic dome of 32 sheet metal panels, the structure represents hundreds of hands, with each person’s expression of what their “inner sun” means. Ranging from expressions of “love,” “family” and many other sentiments of the celebrations of life, the InnerSun project served this time, to bring together and comfort a heavy-hearted community.
It is difficult to imagine at this time that comfort can be brought to anyone with this impossible loss before us. Coming so soon after many covid-19 losses, the recent deaths of much-loved personalities, Danny Johnson, Fiddler, and Edward Palmer, island musician; these precious lives lost are yet another heavy blow.
At the same time, this sadness brings everyone closer together to offer prayers, food, hope and assistance to those left behind. A Go Fund Me account has been established for the family of Willian Julian, and for Mike Perdue family on Facebook.
More information and news will be available at Northern-Islander.com in the coming days. Go to our NEWS page to read about island residents covering Kate and Adam's vines at Antho Wine Farm!
Autumn is closing in...Falling leaves, falling trees. Is it time to trim or seek other
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