Resident offers welfare checks to community during cold snap

DOWAGIAC — While many were inside Thursday morning attempting to get away from the cold, Dowagiac resident Brian Antisdel was out and about in his vehicle working to ensure that residents of his home town were taken care of.

Wednesday and Thursday, Antisdel, owner of IT3 Computer Solutions, LLC, braved the sub-zero temperatures to perform welfare checks on Dowagiac residents to ensure that they were staying safe in the cold weather. As of 11 a.m. Thursday, Antisdel estimated that he had done roughly 30 welfare checks over the course of two days.

“I know this town, and I love this town, so I put a message out on Facebook like I normally do,” he said. “I got a lot of messages asking for things. … It’s something that I am happy to do.”

Brian Antisdel

Antisdel spent the bulk of his morning Thursday delivering space heaters to residents at Chestnut Towers, several of whom reported that heat to their rooms had gone out. Once he learned of the problem, Antisdel said he procured several space heaters from members of the community for the residents of the Dowagiac Housing Commission property.

Martha Comstock, a 60-year-old resident of Chestnut Towers, said her unit and several others were without heat overnight Wednesday. She said she was grateful to Antisdel for working with onsite maintenance to provide her and other residents with space heaters until the building’s heating issue could be fixed.

“I get to take my coat off,” she said with a laugh. “They worked hard, and they worked swift to help these people. … It was a great, great relief to have some heat.”

Antisdel is no stranger to this type of work. Over the years, he has taken part in relief missions during the California wildfirse, Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Katrina. As the state of Michigan was under a declared state of emergency this week, Antisdel said he felt called to apply the same dedication he had during those other relief missions to his hometown of Dowagiac.

“We have done disaster relief in California and during the hurricanes. This is what we do there,” he said. “We make them smile, hug them and get them to safety.”

Antisdel was only one of many community members who were working to ensure that Dowagiac residents were taken care of during the harsh colds this week. Another was Charles McCarthy, of Cassopolis, who spent Wednesday and Thursday using his truck to transport individuals in Dowagiac and Cassopolis and to pull out vehicles that had become stuck by the snow.

“I pulled out as many people as I could and made sure that people had [tow trucks] coming and were safe and warm in their vehicles until help could arrive for them,” he said. “The good Lord gave me the ability to be out and about in this and for my vehicle to start and run and drive. I figure there are some people out there a little less fortunate than I am. I figure I can be a blessing to someone else because I have been blessed.”

Though they received thanks by those they helped, both Antisdel and McCarthy said they were just doing what they thought was right and what they hoped that anyone would do.

“If people have the availability to help someone else, help them,” McCarthy said. “You never know. Someday, it might be you that is less fortunate.”

“If it weren’t for the people in this community, I wouldn’t be here,” Antisdel added. “It’s instilled in me to give back and let people know that Dowagiac loves them. That’s just being a Dowagiac-ian. We take care of each other.”

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