Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mom who lost 3 kids in plane crash about to lose home, too

Karen Perry is losing her home, and the timing couldn't be worse.

The news came little more than a month after her three young children and their father were killed in a Thanksgiving eve plane crash in the Superstition Mountains.

Arizona plane crash in Superstition Mountains

The ridge where it happened looms large in the view from Perry's lawn in Gold Canyon, a largely retirement-oriented community about 40 miles east of Phoenix.

"I have a reminder outside my door every day of how they passed away," Perry said.

Morgan, 9, Logan, 8, and Luke, 6, were flying to Safford from Mesa to spend the holiday with dad Shawn Perry. Two of his co-workers, Russel Hardy and Joseph Hardwick, also perished. There were no survivors.

"There are a lot of memories here, and I personally find that very comforting," Perry said Wednesday. "I look at pictures, and I visualize (the children) around the house. It's going to be hard to leave."

Like many Arizonans, Perry is saddled with negative equity in her home. And while she was a single mother for two years, divorce-attorney fees nearly wrung her dry, she said.

Perry learned the house would be auctioned while she was seeking a loan modification -- and the date was set for less than two weeks, according to Nicole Hamming, Perry's friend and real-estate agent.

Within 10 days, Hamming said, they managed to secure a short-sale contract, which is now pending. A second buyer is also lined up.

Perry remains in a tight spot, Hamming said, but "at this point, we have to try to help her go forward."

Friends worry she's not emotionally ready to pack up the children's things. Toys are in the yard, and plastic, brightly colored playsets still flank the fireplace. The children's laundry hasn't been moved.

All will need to be boxed up soon, but Perry can take her time in other ways.

Perry's fellow flight attendants at Delta Air Lines donated enough paid-leave time for her to take a year off, Hamming said.

And Ladies Day Fund, a New Orleans-based charity founded by active and retired Delta flight attendants, has raised more than $12,550 since December by matching donations up to 20 percent. This month, Ladies Day Fund will match donations by 10 percent.

Perry expressed her gratitude for the support and well wishes she's received from across the globe.

While the outpouring doesn't change her situation, she said, it's made her feel closer to the community and given her strength.

"I don't feel angry now," Perry said. "I feel a lot of things ... but I don't want to feel sorry for myself. (I want to) take all the negative energy and use it in a positive way."

How to help

Donate -- Ladies Day Fund,, will match up to 10 percent of donations for every check written to Karen Perry through Feb. 28. Mail donations to Ladies Day Fund Inc., 1000 Bourbon St. #370, New Orleans, LA 70116.

Bid -- Listeners to KSWG 96.3 FM Real Country can bid on a pair of tickets to the sold-out George Strait concert. The auction is from 6:30 to 8:55 a.m. today.

Listen and buy -- A portion of proceeds from iTunes sales of the song "Fly," written by Tina Vallejo in honor of Perry's children, will go to help Perry.

by Lindsey Collom - Feb. 1, 2012 10:13 PM The Republic |

Mom who lost 3 kids in plane crash about to lose home, too

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