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Parents of siblings killed in crash thank community for support

(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The parents of two siblings who died in a car crash in Kalamazoo want to send a special message to the community that's given them support.

17-year-old Anneke Vels and her 13-year-old brother Landon died December 3rd when their minivan hit a tree.

Investigators say the two died before their van burst into flames.

It happened on G Avenue as the siblings were on their way to school at Heritage Christian Academy.

The Vels tell Newschannel3 they're so thankful for the community's prayers and for holding them up during this difficult time.

They say their faith is what's giving them the strength and peace they so desperately need.

Peter and Laura Vels held hands Monday night as they told us how they want their children to be remembered.

For 13-year-old Landon, "He was always looking for the boy that was left out, you know who needed a friends and he'd be right there for him," said Laura Vels.

For 17-year-old Anneke she sang like an angel and always said her bedtime prayers.

"You know sometimes we'd already be in bed and we would come in as they were done studying, done reading a book, and they'd say can you come tuck me in, and it was precious," said Peter Vels.

As the Vels sat surrounded by Anneke's artwork and the Christmas tree she and her brother decorated, they shared what Christmas means to them.

"We are always thinking of getting that perfect Christmas gift for our family and friends and neighbors, that perfect gift at Christmas is Jesus Christ as our savior," said Peter Vels.

Laura tells us since her children were taken away from her, life has taken on a whole new meaning.

"I don't want to let a moment go by, or a person that I meet, that I don't tell them of the strength that comes from Jesus. You know i just want to shout to the world, he's out there, he's real," said Laura.

The Vels say they're thankful for the memories they have, family vacations, swimming at the beach, late nights fishing, never to be forgotten.

"We miss them dearly in the short time we had our kids, we just loved them with all our hearts," said Peter Vels.

The Vels say they plan on seeking out a support group so that they can help comfort other parents who have also lost their children.