(02/17/14) - A Mid-Michigan community is coming together to help a family deal with a devastating loss.
Atherton High School grad and proud U.S. Marine, Matt Wilke, is described by his mom as a free spirit, always chasing an adventure.
"He was fun, had a great personality and was mischievous, he loved life, he loved to sky dive," said Wilke's mother, Erica Valley.
While starting a new life and new adventure in Texas last month, the 19 year old died suddenly in a car accident.
Brooke Tate, a former high school teacher, is among those now trying to help the family cope.
"I know that we can't take away the pain, or the sorrow or the loss, but I was hoping maybe we can take away some of the stress," Tate said.
Tate and others are organizing a spaghetti dinner fundraiser Tuesday night to help offset the cost of Wilke's funeral.
"We're hoping that people can just come and eat with us and love and laugh and maybe start the healing process a little bit by sharing stories. Matt had a way of filling a room," Tate said.
His loved ones are hoping he can do the same in death. He would have been 20 years old this week.
"It would be nice to be surrounded by people who loved him, knew him and it will make the week easier, it will be a hard week. I just hope everyone can make it and enjoy who Matt was," Valley said.
Tuesday's dinner is in conjunction with the REDOUT game Tuesday night from 5-8 p.m. at Atherton Junior-Senior High school.
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