Truckee, CA (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - Hundreds came out to show love and support to the Petty Officer Third Class Brian Collins and his family, Saturday, and for a few hours this morning, time stood still to honor a young fallen veteran.
Family, friends, comrades, and neighbors gathered to honor and celebrate the life Truckee native, Brian Collins. His life was cut short at 25-years-old in a Navy helicopter crash this month.
"It's overwhelming,” says his mother, Hollee Collins. “I knew Brian had an impact in the town of Truckee, where he was raised. Everybody has been so supportive."
At his family's request, the Patriot Guard from both Nevada and California stood by as his ashes were transported to his alma mater; it’s an honor they're proud to uphold.
"Immensely so,” says Dean Shuff, Captain of the Northern Nevada Patriot Guard. “For all of us, it's a privilege."
As the procession slowly moved through the town, community members saluted Collins from the sidelines with hats off and flags flying high.
Every seat was filled at the high school football field where military honors were presented to the Collins family.
Each family member was presented an American flag to honor Collins' ultimate sacrifice, and a poem was read as a reminder that his spirit is closer than ever before.
Now a gold-star mother, Hollee Collins chooses to remember her son in his element.
"He would make you smile,” she says. “If you had a bad day, he would make you smile. He was a goofball."
She says she'll always remember his smile, and hopes that bright smile will inspire a more positive outlook on life.
"Take things a little more lightly. It's not as bad as it seems,” says Collins. “Rather than think of the negative, do something that would help another person without expectations in return.”
After the military honors, another ceremony was held in the Truckee high school gymnasium to celebrate Collins’ life.