Church holds first service since deadly crash - FOX 13 News

Church holds first service since deadly crash

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They sang, prayed and cried.

Those at First Baptist Church of New Port Richey are experiencing a heart wrenching loss.

"We've said goodbye on earth to the finest that we know," said Pastor Guy Sanders during a Sunday church service.

The families of Michalanne Salliotte and Jeff Novak now surround themselves with prayer.

"It is traumatic for us on this Earth, but it was a homecoming for him," said John Cavalier.

John Cavalier remembers his brother-in-law as a man dedicated to one purpose.

"He always just had an infinity for the kids and he ultimately died serving god with what he always did and was all about the kids all the time," said Cavalier.

His family holds to his faith to carry them through their grief.

"He was 100 thousand percent Christian. He loved his Lord. He served his Lord and he died serving his Lord," said Cavalier.

Novak and Salliotte were chaperoning a group of kids to a youth camp in Georgia.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the van from New Port Richey was headed north on I-75 near exit 90.

FHP said their tire blew, the van flipped and they were thrown from the van.

"They just great folks. They loved Jesus. They were just volunteers, but they gave it all," said Pastor Sanders.

Pastor Guy Sanders remembers Salliotte and Novak as two who dedicated their lives to the church.

"You can't replace the kind of people with the enthusiasm," he said.

As the church remembers the two they turn their prayers to 14-year-old Jacob Newman.

He remains fighting for his life.

"He has got a long way to go because of broken bones and some internal injuries, but the word this morning was good," said Pastor Sanders.

Church members pray for more good news as they continue moving forward.

"We are going to keep going. Jeff and Michalanne died climbing and that is what we will do here we will go on," said Pastor Sanders.

Jacob Newman is listed as critical at Shands at UF.

The Florida Highway Patrol continues investigating the crash.

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