Wife of helo crash victim: ‘He was the best person I ever knew’

“It’s just so hard to know that I can’t call him and I can’t talk to him anymore and he’s the person who knows me best in the whole world,” Cheyenne Collins says, the wife of Petty Officer Brian Collins.

Cheyenne and Brian Collins had just celebrated their first year of marriage.

“He was the best person I ever knew,” Cheyenne says.

They were engaged Christmas Eve 2012 and married just a week later on New Year’s Eve. Cheyenne says the past year has been a blur.

The newlyweds moved from their home in Truckee, California to Norfolk, so the 25-year-old petty officer could pursue his dreams in the Navy and also start a life with 21-year-old Cheyenne.

“Just wanted to do so much,” Cheyenne says. “He was so ambitious. He wanted to do crazy things that weren’t even possible and I would tell him that and he’s like ‘I don’t care, I’m still doing it,’ you know. He was just so excited about our life together.”

On Wednesday their dreams were shattered. Cheyenne got a call from Brian’s father about a Navy Sea Dragon helicopter crash off the coast of Virginia Beach.

Brian was one of four crewmembers taken to the Sentara Norfolk General.

“I was just glad that he was there and was just praying on my way over that he was OK,” Cheyenne says.

She waited hours at the hospital. Wednesday afternoon, Cheyenne was told that Brian didn’t make it.

“I still can’t believe it’s real,” she says. “It’s not fair. I saw him yesterday morning. You know he kissed me goodbye.”

Cheyenne says they had planned to one day have a big wedding, but looking back now, Cheyenne says what they had was perfect.

“I know that he loved me a lot and would give me anything I ever wanted, but I just wish he was here still,” Cheyenne says. “It’s not fair. He didn’t deserve it.”

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