Tech. Sgt. Dashan Briggs' widow Rebecca with the couple's children, Jayden and Ava at a May 26 ceremony naming Lewis Street, where Briggs grew up, in his honor. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Friends of Tech. Sgt. Dashan Briggs, a Riverhead native who perished in a helicopter crash in Iraq in March, are organizing a fundraiser to help the family he left behind.

Tech. Sgt. Dashan Briggs and his wife Rebecca, with their children Jayden and Ava. Courtesy photo.

The first annual “TSgt. Dashan J. Briggs Family Fun Day” will take place Sept. 23 from 12 to 5 p.m. at Stotzky Park in Riverhead. The event is centered around the things Briggs loved — “family, friends, BBQ and sports,” according to organizers. It will include a raffles, a 50/50, a barbecue contest and a kickball tournament. The suggested donation for admission is $25 per person. All proceeds raised by the event will go to support the airman’s young children, Jayden, 3, and Ava, 2. 

Briggs was one of seven men killed when an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter they were riding in crashed in western Iraq near the Syrian border March 15. (See prior story.) Briggs and three others were deployed out of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing in Westhampton. The Department of Defense said the crash did not appear to be the result of enemy fire.

Briggs, 30, was a 2007 graduate of Riverhead High School, where he played lacrosse and football. News of his death sent shock waves through the school community and beyond. Hundreds turned out to pay their respects to Briggs as his funeral cortege made its way from the Westhampton airbase to Calverton National Cemetery March 29, passing in front of the high school on Harrison Avenue. See story, photos and video here.

Riverhead High School NJROTC cadets look for the funeral procession as it approaches the high school entrance. Photo: Denise Civiletti

“He was one of the great ones, a true leader,” Riverhead Blue Waves head coach Leif Shay said in a March 16 interview. “He exemplified what it means to be a man.” 

Organizers of the Sept. 23 event are accepting donations of prizes for a raffle at the event, as well as cash donations to support the event. For information on how to donate, contact organizer Tara Karen. Click here to send an email.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.