Karen Perry decorates her Gold Canyon home with photographs of her children - Morgan, 9; Logan, 8; and Luke, 6.
"I think about them every day," Perry said. "Some days are tougher than others."
Thanksgiving Day is one of the tougher days.
Two years ago, the children were on a plane to Safford. They were going home with their father Nov. 23, 2011, the day before Thanksgiving.
Their flight never made it to Safford as several witnesses in Apache Junction saw the plane fly directly into the side of Superstition Mountain.
"Sometimes it's still surreal, and seems like it never really happened," Perry said. "I just have to do the best I can and make the best of what I have while I'm here."
Every year before Thanksgiving, Perry hikes up Superstition Mountain to the crash site, still blackened from the resulting explosion.
"There was a tree that was right in the path of all this destruction, and this tree is completely untouched," Perry said.
She calls it the "Tree of Hope," and it inspired her to form a nonprofit called Wings of Life. Through a variety of activities, the faith-based organization is dedicated to embracing the unique needs of the children in the Valley.
Perry and a group of friends were unable to make the climb Saturday because a storm front that pummeled the Valley of the Sun with record rainfall made the trek dangerous, according to a family spokesperson. They were expected to try again Monday morning.
For more information on Wings of Life, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/3wingsoflife.
For more on this story and other stories around Arizona from this author, follow Shawn Kline on Facebook and Twitter.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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