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Monument Raised to Fallen Mich. Medical Flight Victims

ALMA, Mich. (AP) — The lone survivor of a small plane crash in Lake Michigan in July said the dedication of a monument to those who died helps bring closure.

About 200 people attended the dedication ceremony of the black marble monument Saturday at Wright Park in the mid-Michigan community of Alma. Pilot Jerry Freed said the community’s response to the tragedy continues to amaze him.

“The people of this town … have just been wonderful,” Freed told The Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant.

Investigators have said the plane’s engine lost power July 23 about 10,000 feet above the middle of Lake Michigan while heading from Alma to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.. Freed reversed course but crashed near Ludington, about 100 miles from Alma.

Freed had volunteered to fly Don Pavlik, the Alma schools superintendent who was to receive cancer treatment, and others to Rochester. The other victims were Pavlik’s wife, Irene, Dr. James Hall, and co-pilot and retired construction company owner Earl Davidson.

All on board lived in Alma.

The monument is inscribed with a rainbow, recalling one that was seen over Ludington after the crash, as well as a cloud shaped like an angel that was photographed by an Alma resident following the crash. Images of the four who died are etched into the stone.

Earlier, Alma Public Schools named its middle school after Don Pavlik, and St. Louis Public Schools plans to rename the library at Carrie Knause Elementary School for him.

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Information from: Morning Sun, http://www.themorningsun.com/