Friends start GoFundMe for mom of Michigan sailor killed on USS McCain

- There are a lot of questions for the family of Kenneth Smith, the Michigan sailor who was killed on the USS John McCain. Mostly, it's not clear what the Navy will cover in regards to burial services.

When the USS John McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore, it did more than tear a hole in the side of the destroyer, it tore a heart in Milford, Michigan. Kenny Smith, 22, was a Petty Officer Third Class on the ship and was among the 10 missing. His body was found earlier this week.

As the news reached home, it was friends and family that April Brandon relied upon. People like Greg Friant, who was by his dear friend's side when she first learned her son was among the 10 sailors missing. They lit candles at Milford vigil and held out hope that he was still alive, only to learn the harsh reality.

"I have never seen anyone as strong as she's been. I can't even imagine going through any of it," Friant said. "Oh my God, I haven't stopped crying. I can't stop. I can't imagine. I have a 17-year-old son. As a parent you can't help but put yourself in the position when you see another parent suffering - you can't help it."

Just a couple of days after the collision between the ships, the U.S. Navy suspended the search rescue operations. Divers had recovered remains in a sealed compartment of the ship. It was later identified as Smith.

Navy finds remains of Novi native on USS McCain

Like so many others who have shown their support, Friant says he considers April and her children family. Some live nearby - others across the country. All just wanted to help.

April's closest friends are making that easier with a GoFundMe page. The single mother is raising three children and it's not clear what will be covered financially by the Navy.

"Maybe the Navy pays for everything and she could use her car fixed or some groceries. Anything helps. It was more of an opportunity friends from out of town to lend a direct hand," Friant said.

He never knew Kenny, who was deployed by the time Greg became close with the family, but he felt like he knew the hero based on how highly his spoke of him.

"He is a hero just by being willing to sacrifice himself. Knowing he's doing this, she looks at him revered really. All her kids, every single one of them, is the golden child - she has four golden kids," he said.

If you would like to donate to the family's GoFundMe to help the Navy mom, CLICK HERE.

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