NEW ORLEANS -- A New Orleans family is bracing for its first holiday season without their loved one.
Mike Ainsworth was shot and killed trying to help a woman who was carjacked in Algiers Point earlier this year. Now community members are rallying to help his young boys this Christmas.
'A day at a time, little by little,' is how Mike's brother Bill says the family is coping with his violent death.
Ten months ago, Mike passed away on an Algiers Point front lawn after heroically trying to stop a carjacking. For Ainsworth's family that tragic moment feels like yesterday. His brother Bill says its hard to express how much Mike is missed.
'There's no possible way to narrow it down. People are a package. It's not one thing, it's everything,' said Bill Ainsworth.
The upcoming holidays will be especially tough for the Ainsworth family. Next month also marks another special day on the family's calendar.
'His birthday here at the beginning of December,' said Bill.
Both brothers were especially close, working together as contractors by day and giving back to the community in their free time.
Mike volunteered at NOPD's 8th District Station, and it's friends he made there that want to give back to his family.
'Just as many toys as they can get under the Christmas tree,' said Harold Short, who hopes to make the holiday season brighter for Mike's two young sons. The boys watched helplessly as their dad took his last breath.
Now Short is trying to give them a memorable Christmas to help ease the pain by organizing a 'Children's Santa Claus Benefit' next week.
'Santa Claus was always at my house. I know Santa Claus can't take the place of what happened but I guess someone has gotta do it,' said Short.
Bill says it's a good feeling to know that his brother isn't being forgotten and that the community is rallying around his young nephews just in time for the holidays.
'That's a great relief on me. My brother not being able to be there for it. It's good to know that somebody will be,' said Bill.
The Santa Claus Benefit for Mike's kids is scheduled for next Saturday, November 17 from 7 to 10 p.m. It is being held at 'Michael's on the Park' at 834 North Rampart Street.