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Dowagiac man plays role in Ohio, Kansas disaster relief

NOW: Dowagiac man plays role in Ohio, Kansas disaster relief

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DOWAGIAC, Mich. -- One Dowagiac man is providing disaster relief to cities across the country as tornadoes continue to tear through parts of the nation.

On Monday night, Brian Antisdel received a call while on vacation in Virginia. 

It was about the three tornadoes with winds up to 140 miles per hour that swept through the Dayton, Ohio area. Two of those were just 30 minutes apart. One person died in the storm and more than 60 were injured.

Antisdel is from Dowagiac and volunteers for the Cajun Navy Foundation, a citizen – led disaster rescue and relief organization.

After learning about the need for help in Ohio, Antisdel and his wife changed their route home from vacation to provide aid to the Dayton area. 

“It’s a disaster. Complete disaster,” Antisdel said.

“Within 15 minutes of being on one street I saw over 100 homes that were destroyed,” Antisdel said while explaining the devastation left by the twisters. 

There were many without water and power during his time in Dayton. 

“Very tense. Very sad, it felt like a war zone. Things were broken that you wouldn’t expect to be broken, not this way,” Antisdel said. 

Antisdel is no stranger to volunteer efforts locally and nationwide. 

When disaster strikes, he aims to help others in any way possible.

“First and foremost, I’ll put a post up, and then we’ll get people engaged, hundreds. Then, we start finding out needs and helping. If I have to I’ll clean your dishes. But we’re there to help and assist and recon. If we have to jump in and do rescue, we’ll do that as well. We do whatever it takes. We just go in when people are running out and get needs,” Antisdel said. 

Antisdel was traveling back home on Tuesday to get water to send back to the Dayton area when he received another call. 

The call asked for his assistance in Kansas City, Kansas after a tornado touched down on Tuesday. The City’s Emergency Management team needed immediate assistance. At least a dozen people were injured following the storm. 

Antisdel made the trip to Kansas soon after he was called. 

He was honored by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians for his volunteer and humanitarian efforts both locally and around the country in March.

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