Family donating new tool to save lives


The family of a local 4-year-old boy who died after falling through an iced over pond in Isabella County last year is hoping to prevent the tragedy from happening again.

The family is donating this new tool with money raised for a GoFundMe. 

John Kenny remembers his son, Spencer Kenny.

“He was just an amazing boy. Full of energy, laughing joking, running, all energy. He just had a heart of gold,” John Kelly said. “Today is my son’s birthday. We lost him Dec. 19 last year, right before Christmas.”

Spencer fell through the ice of pond in Isabella County. Multiple crews responded, including the sheriff’s dive team and the Shepherd Fire Department, but by the time they located him he no longer could be revived.

“It’s something that Johnny’s been talking about since the day we lost Spencer, that he wanted to do something for the dive team, to make sure they had the equipment and the resources they needed so that instead of a recovery it was really a rescue they were doing,” said Mashelle Mitchell, Spencer’s great aunt.

Mitchell organized fundraising to gift the dive team with an “Aqua Eye.” It uses sonar technology to scan under water and it has a price tag of over $5,000 all paid for by the community.

“This has really changed our family for the rest of our life. If we can save somebody from going through this, it’s worth every penny,” Mitchell said.

Captain Kevin Salisbury is a close friend of Kenny and was the first to respond to the pond in which Spencer died. He believes this piece of technology could have changed the outcome on that day.

“Where Spencer was found, he was not very far from where we were at. But it was a murky pond, so that made it difficult. Having something with sonar and able to detect something, could have found him a lot quicker,” Salisbury said.

On what should be a happy occasion, Spencer’s family honors his memory by providing hope that the next rescue, should it become necessary, has a better outcome.

“The pain of losing your child is terrible. The fact that you might be able to help another family not go through that, is priceless,” John Kenny said.

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