Lt. Governor Honors Fallen EMT, East Windsor Resident for Volunteerism
Kenwood died while attempting a water rescue during Hurricane Irene in August 2011.
Michael Kenwood, the 39-year-old East Windsor resident and Princeton EMT who died in the line of duty during Hurricane Irene, was one of 20 volunteers recognized with the prestigious Governor's Jefferson Award during a ceremony at the Newark Museum.
“Volunteerism is truly compassion in action, and these citizens have not only identified priority needs, but have found unique ways to address those needs,” Lt. Governor Guadagno said in a statement. “Some of the honorees have given decades of service to their communities. Corporate volunteers have directly served thousands of victims of the Haitian earthquake. One dedicated and selfless individual gave his life responding to the needs of others during Hurricane Irene.”
A member of the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, Kenwood responded to a partially submerged car in floodwater on Rosedale Road in Princeton on Aug. 28, 2011.
Kenwood and his partner that day, PFARS President Peter Simon, tried to make contact with the car's occupants. When the car lights flashed, they tethered themselves to the rescue truck with a rope and started towards the car.
As the water got deeper and the current stronger, the men were forced to turn around. That's when Kenwood lost his footing and both he and Simon were swept away. Simon was able to cut the rope and radio for help, but it was too late for Kenwood. He died at the University Medical Center of Princeton that night.
It was later determined that the car on Rosedale Road was empty, and it may have been an electrical short that caused the lights to flash. Princeton Township Police interviewed the owner of the car but determined there was no criminal action by the driver.
More than 1,400 nominations were submitted for this year’s Jefferson awards.
The honorees represent a fraction of the approximately 1.5 million New Jersey volunteers who provide more than 170 million hours of service each year, according to the Governor's Office.
Other volunteers honored include:
- Beatrice Emma Bernzott, Linden, PSEG Environmental Stewardship
- Becton Dickinson, Franklin Lakes, Corporate Leadership
- Minister Steven A. Brigham, Lakewood, Faith Based Services
- Alrick A. Brown, Plainfield, Verizon Education
- Evelyn Dudziec, Newton, Lifetime Service
- Minister Thomas Ellis, Newark, Community Pillar
- Janet Farrand, Long Valley, Service to Youth
- Richard Goldberg, Parsippany, Executive Leadership
- Stacey Halvorsen PT, Bordentown, BD Health Care Professional
- April Kauffman, Linwood, Volunteer Leadership
- Mallory King, Jersey City, Founders/Innovators
- Dale Mertz, Dover, Against All Odds
- Sam Morris, Mine Hill, Good Neighbor
- New Eyes for the Needy, Short Hills, Volunteer Group
- Pass It Along, Sparta, Youth Volunteer Group
- Harry Pozycki, Metuchen, Founders/Innovators
- Adele Taylor, Williamstown, Youth in Service
- Evan Thomas, Brookside, Emergency Services
- Susan Tonry, Robbinsville, BD Health Care Individual
More information on the awards can be found at www.njgovernorsawards.com.