MILFORD, Mich. (WJBK) - Just a few hours after a vigil of hope was held in Milford, the family of missing Navy Sailor Ken Smith was confirmed to have died aboard the USS John S McCain.
"Community is really important," said April Brandon. "I'm so grateful to be a part of showing April and her family our love."
Outside the home of April Brandon, ribbons adorn trees, flags line the sidewalk. Smith's mother spoke with FOX 2's Taryn Asher earlier this week.
"My son is a hero," she said. "I just want him home."
Smith's father, who lives in New Jersey, released a statement shortly after the confirmation that his son had died after the naval ship he was on collided with a tanker outside Singapore.
That statement by Darryl Smith reads in part:
"On behalf of my entire family, I want to thank all those who have extended their condolences, sympathy and prayers during this very difficult time. Kenneth was a great young man, son, and sailor. He truly loved his family, the Navy, and his shipmates. I am incredibly proud of his service to our country. He will be greatly missed and I am thankful we had 22 wonderful years together."
Others who knew and loved Kenny Smith had nothing but wonderful memories of him as well when we spoke with them at the vigil Thursday night.
"Kenny was an awesome kid," said Charles Hoffon, a family friend. "He spent the night at my house many a times. My son spent the night at theirs. He went off to the navy and my son to college. But I saw him when he was home on leave."
Smith worked as a radar tech for the Navy for the past four years. He was one of 10 who went missing after the collision in open waters.
The Navy confirmed the family's fears on Friday after saying they had recovered his remains. Divers will continue the efforts to find the nine other sailors still missing. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.