Celebration of Life Held For Fallen Truckee Sailor - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Celebration of Life Held For Fallen Truckee Sailor

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Courtesy: Adam Varahachaikol Courtesy: Adam Varahachaikol


Hundreds gathered to remember a well-liked sailor from Truckee Saturday.

25-year old Brian Collins was one of the five crewmen killed in a helicopter crash off the Virginia beach coast earlier this month.

At a celebration of his life Saturday at Truckee High School, we learned more about the Naval Petty Officer, Third Class.

"He has always had that great smile on his face and will always be missed," said Kerrin Meeko, who's known Brian since she was 12.

"He was basically like a little brother to me," said Ryan Gunter, whose actual younger brother is best friends with Brian. "I got to watch him grow up through the years, go from goofy, little boy to a goofy, young man, and sit there and make everybody around him very proud. He was a big part of my life, and he'll definitely be missed."

On Saturday morning, Patriot Guard Riders and volunteers lined Donner Pass Road with flags to bring in Brian's family. Then, the celebration of life officially started with an Honor Guard service at the Truckee High School football field that included full military honors for Brian. He received a 21-gun salute, and as a symbol of his honorable military service, a flag-folding ceremony was held for his immediate family members.

The service was then moved into the school gym where it was standing room only. To respect the family, our video cameras weren't allowed inside, but we were invited to take pictures. While there, we learned Collins was awarded the Commendation Medal from the U.S. Navy.

Of course, there were tears, but people laughed at some of the stories shared by the ones he was closest to.

His friend from his Naval service, Scott Menefee, told the crowd Brian was close with his mom, Hollee, and loved her very much. Brian's sister, Danielle, talked about how he was active, and loved doing Crossfit workouts.

After the service, Brian's half-brother, Joseph Delligatti, told us how much it means to the family to see the large turnout on Saturday.

"It's really beautiful to see the family all come together and see the community as a whole," he said. "To see how many lives he really, truly touched."

He told us he'll always cherish the first time he went snowboarding with Brian and their sister at Boreal Mountain Resort.

"It's where I really learned how to snowboard with him and my sister," Delligatti said. "It's something I'll always hold forever."


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