Family of electrocuted Mid-Michigan man reaches out for help
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -
The family of the man from Shiawassee County who was electrocuted spoke to TV5 Tuesday night.
When you saw Phillip Smith, you wouldn't miss it.
"We actually joked earlier, if you ever asked anybody what they'd remember about dad, it would be his beard," said Smith's daughter, Brandi French.
Hiding behind those whiskers, French and her sister Erin Smith said he had a proud smile that reached ear to ear.
"Everybody loves him. I do not know one person who doesn't like my dad," said French.
"He did anything for anybody," said Erin Smith.
But on Sunday, following the storms tore through the Shaftsburg area, the two girls believe he took on a task that ultimately claimed his life. Phillip Smith heard a loud crack behind his house and saw fire.
"We assume he just stumbled upon the line," said French.
French was at her home when she got a call from her mother that her father was missing. She rushed over and explained what happened next.
"I ran out back, yelling for dad, could see the fire. Obviously couldn't see him. I went back in and told her we need somebody here now," said French. "They couldn't touch him until Consumers came up, so we had to watch the fire. It was a couple of hours."
The 59-year old was electrocuted, a tragedy that hits at an already rough time. Phillip Smith's wife Terri has stage three cancer, and he was her caretaker.
"Life's flipped upside down for her, so we're stepping in his shoes," said French.
"He didn't have life insurance, so now we're trying to take care of cremation costs and what not," said Erin Smith.
The family is reaching out for help for funeral costs and the costs of treatment for Phillip Smith's wife Terri. Those interested in helping this family out can make a donation to the Watkins Brothers Funeral Home in Perry. The address there is 214 N. Main St., Perry, MI 48872.
The community also plans to hold a memorial dinner for Phillip Smith. It will be held at Perry Township Hall on Nov. 30 between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
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