PORT SHELDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — In August 2018, Brandon Schmidt disappeared in the water a few feet offshore at Windsnest Park. He was rushed to the hospital, where he later died. Schmidt was 20-years-old.
Now, one day before he would’ve turned 22, Schmidt’s presence came back to that same beach, this time with the goal of keeping others safe from an all-too-common fate in Lake Michigan.
Life-rings and ropes, along with warning signs spelling out the dangers of rip currents now line the beach. They weren’t there the day Brandon drowned.
“After that his mom went before the township board and talked to them and asked them to make some safety changes, which they did,” said James Schmidt, Brandon’s dad. “This is I guess our silver lining. Hopefully that we can save other lives.”
Along with the new equipment and signs, there was a more potent reminder of the reason they’re there. A plaque bearing Brandon’s name was also erected Thursday, watching over the shores and other swimmers who are now more aware of the dangers the water can hold.
“Teach your kids about water safety. From a young age help them understand that water is dangerous, and water is deadly if you’re not safe around it,” said James. “We’ve turned that tragedy into something good that can hopefully prevent future harm.”