ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — Mike Capriotto, business man in Orchard Park, was killed in a helicopter crash Thursday evening with his friend Mark Croce.
"I first heard about it this morning... I just ran to the bedroom and woke up my wife, hugged her and... it's just shocking. A tragedy," said Joe Wales, a friend of Capriotto for about 30 years.
Capriotto, 63, owned a plaza in the Village of Orchard Park containing a Kwik Fill, Tim Hortons, Subway and his own electric bike shop Pedego Electric Bikes.
"It would be hard to tell you all that he did in a few moments," Francis Hogenkamp, a friend of Capriotto for nearly 50 years.
Capriotto was heavily involved with the Village of Orchard Park community. He served on as a trustee on the Village's board from January 1998 to December 1998. He also served as president of the Woodlawn Cemetery and is a former member of the Orchard Park Symphony Board. Capriotto worked and donated to the Orchard Park Veterans Park.
"He would do anything for his community and he did," said Jo Ann Litwin Clinton, the Mayor of the Village of Orchard Park.
He was a recipient of the Post of Fame, an award given to an Orchard Park resident for outstanding service to the community. He was described as a pillar in the community. His friends said he had a heart of gold.
"There's going to be a hole here in our community of Orchard Park," said Litwin Clinton.
He leaves behind his wife Jo Ann, two daughters and a son. His son is getting married in October.