After flooding, Mich. woman kayaks to home floating in river to recover mother’s ashes

SANFORD, Mich. (WDIV/CNN) - Nearly 11,000 mid-Michigan residents were forced to evacuate their homes due to massive flooding triggered by dam failures. One woman returned to her home, now floating in the middle of a river, in an attempt to retrieve her mother’s ashes.

Kathy Parsch was the last person to evacuate the village of Sanford, Michigan, on Tuesday, but when she left, she wasn’t able to take her mother’s ashes, which were inside her home, with her. So, she and her three friends braved high waters on Thursday to recover them.

Kathy Parsch and three friends braved high waters in Sanford, Michigan, in an effort to retrieve her mother's ashes after massive flooding in the area.
Kathy Parsch and three friends braved high waters in Sanford, Michigan, in an effort to retrieve her mother's ashes after massive flooding in the area. (Source: GoFundMe)

When the group first returned to the location of Parsch’s home, they discovered only the foundation remained. Then, they saw the house floating in the middle of the Tittabawassee River.

Parsch and her friends borrowed some kayaks and got into the water, paddling through the disaster zone, until they reached the house.

Nearly everything inside was destroyed, and unfortunately, Parsch was not able to find her mother’s ashes, according to her friend’s Facebook post.

“I think she wanted to go down with the ship," said Parsch of her mother. "She wanted to stay with my house, I think.”

Despite the loss of her home, Parsch says the people of Sanford are amazing, and she’s overwhelmed by how they have helped her amid this crisis, including providing her food and clothes. A GoFundMe set up for her has raised more than $10,000.

Law enforcement are still restricting access to the flood zone. They say it’s not safe for residents to return and try to salvage what’s left of their homes.

Copyright 2020 WDIV, Kathy Parsch via CNN. All rights reserved.