With all of the media coverage around Hurricane Irene (Tropical Storm Irene by the time it hit where I live in MA), it has been pretty hard to miss anything related to it. One might say it’s been too much coverage. Luckily nothing happened to me and the worst part was my lights dimmed for a few seconds yesterday. I know others are not as lucky. I know this to be true because my friend, Michael Kenwood, was not.

I’ve known Mike since my freshman year of college. We lived on the same hall. We lived together the next year, and then again after college. I was the best man at his wedding. Needless to say, we were very good friends. We both shared a lot of common interests, not the least of which was computers. I can remember when we had a Dell guy in our room it seemed every other day fixing his 286DX computer. We were always playing some sort of game (Sierra Online comes to mind – Mike had one of those Roland external sound units for good music output long before good soundcards were in fashion). He had one of the 20MB hard disk cards. Ours was always the room to be in between the food, the entertainment (my laserdisc player), the Genesis, my Amiga, his PC … we were all set. Good times.

As good as he was with computers, he ultimately went to law school at Boston University and got a law degree. One of the reasons I’m good at contracts is I read a lot of his stuff while we lived together after college while he was attending BU. I visited him a few times when he moved out to Chicago to join a law firm. He ultimately moved back home to NJ, found a great woman to marry, and had a daughter a few years ago.

He never lost his love for computers and while he still practiced law, he started doing consulting. More and more the computer stuff took over to where law became a small part of his work.

During college he also volunteered as an EMT. He recently started doing that again for the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad. I know he missed it and I was happy he was getting to do it again.

As is the way life goes, we all get busy. We didn’t see each other often, but we did talk and e-mail. He was helping me out recently on some stuff for my business. He was always been great in providing an unbiased ear and gave great advice.

Last night, I was up doing some work late (I know, shocker) and heard one one of the national news channels that a Princeton EMT worker was injured seriously. I got a knot in my stomach hoping it wasn’t my friend Mike.

Unfortunately, it was him. I just found out Mike passed away due to injuries during a rescue attempt during Hurricane Irene yesterday. Needless to say, there are no words to express really how I feel at the moment. I’ve known Mike since the age of 17. We met around this time (late August), since this is when college started. It’s been 20+ years since that first year of college – over half my life. My only solace is that he died doing something he was passionate about and died a hero trying to make a difference.

EDIT: A friend found this article which described what happened.

You always hope that a day like this would never come. I’m turning 40 later this year and when it’s someone close to you – especially someone so young – it really gives you something to chew on. I’m lucky that my parents are still around and I’ve had no major losses outside of my grandparents years ago. This is a reminder to really stop and smell the roses because it can all go in an instant.

My condolences to the whole Kenwood family, especially Mike’s mother, father, brothers, wife, and daughter. He leaves a strong legacy and was one of the best people I knew.

Rest in peace, my friend. You will be missed.

Allan and Mike at a Phillies Game in 2010