“I want my people to come back home, because the city of Trotwood is a family."
That's what one speaker told a large group of individuals and organizations that have, for almost two weeks now, focused on recovery efforts in the aftermath of a tornado outbreak that cause massive damage this past Memorial Day.
The gathering took place Friday at Sinclair Community College where the groups involved assessed the work they've done so far, and discussed how to take their recovery efforts to the next level.
The meeting was convened by local health, social service, and faith-based groups, with help from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s office. Officials from Dayton, Beavercreek, Trotwood, and Harrison Twp. gave updates on how their communities were doing almost two weeks after the Memorial Day tornadoes.
Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman said there has been no shortage of people willing to donate their time to help with recovery efforts.
“Out of this tragedy, this community has stepped up, and the outpouring is really incredible."
Panelist Caleb Ingram with Declare Dayton, an organization that works to unify the outreach efforts of local churches, was enthusiastic about the community's response and said Dayton has been put to the test because of the tornadoes, and a rally by a Klan-affiliated group that took place just days before.
“Either one of those could have divided a city or could have damaged the city irreparably," he said. "What's encouraging to me is in both cases we saw the Greater Dayton community stand together and say this is who we are, this is what we believe in, that we're for one another. We as a city, regardless of any emergency, are committed to to rise above the challenges around us whether it's economic or opioids, whether that's a KKK group or whether that's tornadoes...that we're moving forward and you can't put us down.”
Dayton native, Daquana Farrow, a community activist involved with several local churches, said the Friday meeting focused on next steps for recovery and how organizations can further serve those affected by the storms.
“The reality of it is that readiness is huge," she said after the meeting. "I think that's one of the areas where we definitely have an opportunity for improvement. And I think having seen and witness this disaster really gives us a more sense of urgency around doing that.”
United Way reminded attendees about HelpLink 2-1-1, which is a 24-hour hotline for people in need of a variety of human services, and other participants shared information on resources offered by their organzations.
As the gathering drew to a close, follow-up meetings were announced and the service organizations on-hand vowed to remain focused on helping residents displaced by the storms.
The coalition’s efforts can be followed on social media using #DaytonStrong.