EMT beats COVID-19 only to lose everything in Edenville Dam failure

An EMT is putting his life back together after surviving COVID-19 only to lose his home in the Midland County flooding. 

Working as an EMT for Mobile Medical Response in Saginaw, 28-year-old Jake Federer knew he was at risk to contract COVID-19. But when his test came back positive on May 5, it was still a shock.

“I kind of expected that it might happen at some point but you just .. hope that you didn’t (get it),” he said.

He battled the virus, suffering a cough and shortness of breath. Feeling better a few weeks later, he got tested again, hoping to return to work. That very evening on May 19, the Edenville Dam failed.

“We got the emergency pages that we needed to evacuate - that the dam had breached," Jake said.

Jake’s family was among 10,000 people evacuated in Midland County. His childhood home on Jessie Street in Sanford where he lived with his girlfriend Ellen and three children -- all under the age of 8 -- was ruined. 

“It was about an hour and a half after the pages went off. I went back to the house and I couldn’t go down the road. Our house was already over four feet of water. It hit me it’s like wow, I lost everything," he said.

The water receded and now they’re just picking up the pieces, as the bills pile up.

“All the drywall had to be ripped out to the ceiling. All the floorboards had to come up. Right now our house is just on studs," Jake said.

"Some of the times I just ended up walking away while we were gutting the house. Seeing pretty much everything you've worked for for 10 years -- you have to start over."

But they’re not alone. The community stepped in -- even strangers came by to help.

“One day -- probably 20 people at the house that I have no clue who they even were. It was just the community came together," he said.

Staying with Jake’s parents in Midland, they spend all their time not at work trying to fix the house. But all the hardship has helped them focus on what really matters. 

“Brought us a lot closer and just helped us know that if we can get through this - anything in the future should be pretty easy,” he said.

Jake’s mother has set up a GoFund me to help the family get back on their feet, click here if you'd like to help out.