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Dowagiac man preparing to go help Hurricane Michael victims

WSBT 22 photo

Nearly 1,000 miles separate our area from the hurricane-ravaged Florida Panhandle, but that distance is not stopping some people in Michiana from wanting to help.

A Dowagiac man will be traveling down there Friday to help with rescuing and delivering supplies.

Brian Antisdel did the same thing during Hurricane Florence. He packed up a car with supplies and drove to the Carolinas. Now he’s preparing for his next journey to the Florida panhandle to help people affected by Hurricane Michael.

Antisdel communicates with vetted professionals in the Florida panhandle area in order to help with the efforts.

He’s using an app called Zello.

“It’s an app that we download and we work directly with the Cajun Navy Foundation and all those great people,” he said. “We’re a Michigan team and we’re vetted with them and they’ve called upon us to help out, and that’s a great honor to represent Michiana, Dowagiac and our hometown

Zello allows him and his team to communicate with each other and find out who needs help and where.

“They’ll pull a ticket from a board from people out there all across the East Coast who are saying I need help, I need this, I need that. That ticket will then be pulled by one of our dispatchers."

This isn’t Antisdel’s first time helping with hurricane relief efforts.

He went to North Carolina to help after Florence hit.

“When I went to North Carolina it was extremely tough. I’m not going to lie, I try not to think about it but when people have nothing it’s treacherous.”

Hurricane Michael hit the panhandle as a strong category 4. Anstidel says he has the gear he needs to help anyone who needs it.

“The local people stepped up and I have a truck, I got two kayaks, I have a pontoon boat and mobile 2s already rolled out this morning with 150 pounds of diesel and chainsaws and boats. So we’re on it. We’re in, we’re coming to help.”

Feed the Hungry in South Bend has also packed up emergency supplies and is heading down to the Panhandle today.

The organization also sent truck-loads of supplies for Hurricane Florence relief.

Relief efforts for Hurricane Michael will be no different...

“Going into these neighborhoods where people have been without electricity, without running water, without supplies for days, and you show up with a box of something that’s desperately needed for them and for their children and for their family – the tears flow the smiles appear.”

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