During my time at Channel Two, I made some life-long friends, among them is Chesley McNeil. I can honestly say that he was like a brother to me. He gave me advice (even when I didn’t ask for it). Like the time I started dating Scott – TEN years ago! He said, “Are you sure you want to date a musician?” I loved him for being protective! At our wedding reception he had his answer!
Everyone loves Chesley. He’s kind, sweet and about as cool as they come! He’s also very funny, which made working the early shift a bit easier.
He is also filled with faith and that is why his call to me when my Maria was hurt – was so special. I was in the ER – waiting for her to come out of a 12-hour surgery – when my cell phone rang. It was Chesley. I never told anyone this, but my phone rang too many times to count and his was the only call I actually answered. I knew he’d pray and that was what I needed. This was years after he’d moved to Atlanta. He wanted me to know that he was praying for us. I will never forget that call.
When he lived here, we used to play baseball – his family and mine, along with some friends. It was always such a good time. Chesley is such a dedicated family man with a wonderful wife and sweet boys. He left Buffalo to work at 11 Alive in Atlanta. People always ask me how he’s doing – so I checked in!
Q: How are you? And the family?
A) Things are going well for the McNeil house. My oldest son (Chesley) graduated from Valdosta State Universtiy last May. Marquis is still in school, and Cyrus is in his first year of high school…… I’m getting old!!!!
Q: How is Atlanta?
A) Atlanta is hot! Not a fan of the summer temps, but it a great town. We have made it a home. Not the great people like we had in Buffalo. Really miss the great folks of Buffalo.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about living there?
A) We get to enjoy outdoor activities all year round. I have notice since being here, I’m in a little better shape. I get a lot more tennis play in.
Q: How does doing the weather there differ? (Besides the obvious lol)
A) Yeah! Total opposite of Buffalo weather. We focus a lot more on severe thunderstorm and tornadoes than snow. We average roughly 2″ and if we get that, everyone freaks out!!!!!
Q: When they get a tiny bit of snow – there’s real trouble. Do you think to yourself, “oh those Buffalo crews would have this up in a flash?”
A) Absolutely. There wasn’t a lot of money invested in snow removal here, with good reason. Recently we had a snow storm that came in after everyone went to work and school. I want to say it began snowing around 11am. Well, everyone begin to leave work and school at the same time and it caused gridlock on the highways. People were stuck for 17 or more hours. We only received about 2 or 3 inches, but the traffic cause the snow to compact on the roads and created ice…..spin outs and jams! That event caused the city and surrounding counties to invest more in salt and sand for removal. The governor even formed a task force (which I was proud to serve) to help design plans for avoiding situations like that.
Q: You miss your morning commute from Snyder to downtown now, don’t you!?
A) Yes, although as you know …..no one is up when we get up, so traffic is not bad for my commute.
Q: Will Atlanta always be home now?
A) Not sure about that. You know I’m from Philly. My and my wife’s folks are still there. Philly is home for now, although we are getting comfortable with less snow the older we get.
Q: What made the people in Buffalo so special?
A) The people of Buffalo are the best on earth. Very accepting. Very authentic. We made some friends that we will have for the rest of our lives in Buffalo. Finding friends like that here has be slower.
Q: What do you miss most about Buffalo?
A) My co-workers at Channel 2! La Nova Pizza and Wings. Haynes Fish (not sure they are still there). The great members of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, and my Pastor William Gillison. I miss the festivals along Delaware Ave, playing in the Gus Macker, and my friends that would meet me on cold mornings at Spot Coffee.
Q: What would you say made or makes you “totally Buffalo?”
A) Wow! Buffalo is very infectious. We adapted quick to the hard working frame of mind, and pride the people had about their town. I understand the slow acceptance of outsider, but I will forever be grateful of how quickly I was accepted as one of Buffalo’s own adopted children. I will never forget all that the city has given me. I am totally Buffalo!