Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 35
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

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Weather Forecast

Emergency Worker Dies From Injuries Sustained In Rescue Operation

A volunteer with the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad (PFARS) died Sunday night from injuries sustained during an attempted swift water rescue. Michael Kenwood, 39, was trying to reach a car that appeared to be stranded by Greenway Meadows Park, near Rosedale Road, when he was separated from his partner and swept away by the current into an area of trees.

Mr. Kenwood died at University Medical Center in Princeton shortly after 10 p.m.

He had been pulled unconscious from the waters of Stony Brook, which had risen rapidly during the storm. Mr. Kenwood and partner Peter Simon, who is President of PFARS, entered the brook around 4:35 a.m. to check on what appeared be a stranded car. Since the vehicle’s brake lights were flashing, the rescuers believed someone might be stranded inside the partially submerged car.

The rescuers were less than halfway to the vehicle when they determined that the current was too strong for them to continue. They were called back to land, but the two lost footing and were separated. While Mr. Simon was able to rescue himself, Mr. Kenwood was carried into the current. The car was later determined to be unoccupied and abandoned by its driver.

A resident of East Windsor and the husband of Elizabeth Frenkel, Mr. Kenwood ran Kenwood Technical Consulting, a computer troubleshooting company. He joined PFARS in February of 2008. He had previously served as an EMT at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, where he received his initial certification in May of 1992. In addition to his duties as an EMT and member of the Technical Rescue Team, he also served PFARS in administrative capacities as a trustee, IT administrator, and member of several committees.

“Michael loved EMS. He relished all the training and truly enjoyed adding to his skill set,” said Mr. Simon in a prepared statement. “Michael’s loss is tragic and so difficult to comprehend, but it is of some comfort to know that he died doing what he loved. Michael was more than just a great EMT and rescue technician. He was an excellent mentor and trainer to the newer Squad members and also worked in numerous capacities to improve the organization from his first day with us.

“Michael did so much for the Squad that he received the Squad’s Extra Mile Award in his first year with the organization in recognition for everything he did. Although he will not be physically with us, his legacy of devoted service will serve as an inspiration not only to the current and future members of the Squad, but to the emergency services field as a whole. Michael is a hero. Not for how he lost his life. But for how he lived it. For how he volunteered to make his community better, for how he served our Squad, and for how he loved his family and friends.”

U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) also commented on Mr. Kenwood’s death. “All of us owe our deepest gratitude to the public servants who worked through the storm to keep our communities safe. My thoughts are especially with the family of Michael Kenwood,” he said, “who confronted swift floodwaters in an effort to protect Princeton residents and who, tragically, was swept away and killed. His sacrifice reminds us of the dangers that our first responders face willingly each day.”

Services for Mr. Kenwood are being held Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at The Robert Schoem Menorah Chapel, 150 Route 4, in Paramus.

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