2017-07-27 / Local News

Laker grad, veteran, fondly recalled

By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

A 2007 Glen Lake graduate and Afghanistan war veteran died last Thursday, July 20, while working on Lake Michigan.

Mike Kandel drowned while trying to help a co-worker who had fallen from the boat in which they were working as part of an environmental consulting business.

Kandel, a strong swimmer and SCUBA certified, was able to save the man, but at some point suffered a head injury and was not able to tread water.

His body was recovered Friday in Sturgeon Bay along the shoreline of Emmet County.

Kandel is remembered fondly by Weston Buchan of Elmwood Township. The two had been best friends since third grade.

“Mike was the most genuine guy you’d ever meet,” Buchan said of his friend who played tackle and defensive end on the Glen Lake football team. “I don’t remember him saying anything negative about anyone. He was a really positive person.”

Kandel joined the Army after graduation and served for six years of active duty. He was deployed to Afghanistan for a year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“I keep thinking I’m going to get a call, telling me they had the wrong person,” Buchan said. “I can’t believe it.”

Kandel leaves behind his parents, Ed and Annette Kandel of Maple City; a sister, Christine; brother Kyle and Kyle’s fiancee with whom he was living in Kalkaska.

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