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September 08, 2011 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-09-08

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13151 W. 10 Mile Rd.
Oak Park, MI 48237
PH (248) 546-4400

Fallen Hero

An act of kindness from a stranger
eases the load for grieving family.

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Jackie Headapohi
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ichael Kenwood was a hero.
The 39-year-old New Jersey
husband and father was a
volunteer EMT and member of the
Princeton (N.J.) First Aid and Rescue
Squad. As Hurricane Irene prepared
to batter the area, he sent his wife and
daughter a few hours away to safety,
but stayed behind in case his help was
At 4:30 a.m. Sunday, he got a call
that a rapid-water rescue team was
needed to go investigate a submerged
car (later found to be unoccupied)
near a local school. He and a fellow
EMT responded to the call. When
they entered the raging floodwaters,
the pair quickly knew they had to
turn back for their own safety, but
Kenwood and his colleague were
separated by the water's current. His
colleague found him facedown in the
water five minutes later.
Kenwood is the brother-in-law of
Birmingham resident Amy Margolis.
"Emergency crews were able to
resuscitate him and take him to the
hospital, but he never regained con-
sciousness," she said.
Margolis' sister, Beth Frenkel, was
able to make it to the hospital to
be by her husband's side. Margolis,
meanwhile, was desperately trying to
arrange transportation to New Jersey
to be with her sister.
"Because of the hurricane, we
couldn't get a flight:' Margolis said.
"We set up a command central at
my house where family and friends
gathered, and spent the day trying to
determine how to get to my sister:'
No commercial flights were avail-
able, and the expense of a chartered
flight was too much.
"In the end, we decided to drive
through the night:' she said. "We knew
we'd be spending at least 10 hours in
the car, much of it driving through
bad weather. It was going to be treach-
erous, and I was scared:'
Margolis was on the road when
she received a call from Michael
Kenwood's brother that he had a con-
tact with a plane waiting in Pontiac to
take them to Princeton.
"Soon after, I got a call from Sheldon
Yellen, offering to meet us on the road,
escort us to the airport and introduce
us to the pilot',' she said. "Such an act of
kindness — what a mentsh."


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EMT Michael Kenwood died in the

line of duty during Hurricane Irene.

Yellen, owner of Tam-O-Shanter
Country Club in West Bloomfield and
CEO of Birmingham-based BELFOR,
the world's largest disaster restoration
company, had just returned from New
Jersey where his company has offices
when he received the call asking if he
could help.
"I didn't do anything anybody else
wouldn't have done Yellen said.
Margolis disagrees.
"He was like our anger she said.
"He stood on the tarmac until our
plane was airborne, and gave us his
personal cell phone number in case
there was anything else we needed."
Margolis arrived in New Jersey 90
minutes later. The pilot arranged for
cars to meet them at the airport and
Margolis was able to be with her sister
around midnight, a few hours after
her brother-in-law had passed away.
Michael Kenwood was given a
hero's funeral on Wednesday, Aug. 31,
attended by a FEMA official, politi-
cians and dozens of rescue workers
and emergency personnel. Kenwood,
a resident of East Windsor, N.J., had
his own company, Kenwood Technical
Consulting. He leaves behind his wife,
Elizabeth Frenkel, and a 3-year-old
daughter, Laney Kenwood.
Margolis said the family is heart-
broken by Kenwood's death, but the
kindness of Yellen — a stranger to
them — helped them get through. "He
was a godsend;' she said. I I

A fund is being established for Kenwood's

daughter. Contribute to Friends for Laney

Rebecca Kenwood Trust, 66 Witherspoon

St. #260, Princeton, NJ 08543.


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September 8 • 2011


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