Scores of first responders and state officials were at The New Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ Church in New Haven this morning to honor two young girls who were killed in a plane crash last week.
Sade Brantley, 13, and 1-year-old Madisyn Mitchell were in their East Haven home when a plane fell from the sky and struck their home.
Family members shared stories about the girls and said they did not question their failth. During this difficult time, they are leaning on God, they said.
Georgette Hardley read the obituaries.
Madisyn loved music and dancing, Hardley said. She also loved food and would hum as she ate.
Sade was a middle school student who earned high honors, Hardley said. In 2012, she won the Presidential Academic Achievement Award. She also received excellence awards in science and language arts. She aspired to be a neurosurgeon and hoped to be famous.
JoAnna Mitchell, the girls' mother, survived the crash. Her childhood friend, Tomika George, said she's amazed at how well Mitchell is doing through her grief.
"She's holding up very well. It's unbelievable how she can say so high spirit," George said.
East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo, who is the father of two daughters of his own, spoke at the service and said that hearts in the commuinty broke last Friday.
“I cannot imagine the weight that has been placed on your Joanna since last Friday, a weight that you will have to carry with you for the rest of your life” he said.
He added that the community is united in grief and love for these “angels of God, their mother and their family.”
He also talked about heroics last Friday morning as neighbors risked their lives, running into a burning home and going from room to room.
"JoAnna, your angels and you have made a better man and a better East Haven," said Maturo.
"On behalf of every resident of the town of East Haven, please accept our condolences in your grief," Maturo said, his voice cracking. "Know that you share our love, and that in your moments of pain and despair, that you and your children have shared God's love in a powerful way and become a part of each and every one of us. God bless you."
Gov. Dannel Malloy is among the speakers at the funeral, which started at 10 a.m.
He asked for God's blessings for the families of the girls who were killed when a 10-seat plane crashed into two homes during its approach to Tweed-New Haven Airport, officials said.
Fundraisers have been set up to assist the family and to cover funeral expenses.
Friends and community members attended once such fundraiser at Chili's restaurant in East Haven Thursday night that raised around $9,000.
The two houses struck in the crash, 64 and 68 Charter Oak Avenue, are expected to be torn down this week.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
To make a donation to help the victims' family, checks should be made payable to “East Haven United” and can be dropped off or mailed to the following locations:
- Old Stone Church, 251 Main Street, East Haven, CT 06512. The phone number is 203-467-2907
- St. Vincent DePaul Church, 80 Taylor Ave East Haven, CT 06512. The phone number is 203-467-6394
- East Haven United c/o P.O. Box 120085, East Haven, CT 06512.