WYSO

Harrison Township

Beth Wentz and Timothy Walker spent weeks in a hotel followed by months in a mobile home. Their search for a new home was slowed by a tight housing market last year, among other factors, they say.
Timothy Walker

As WYSO remembers the 2019 Memorial Day tornado disaster and its impacts, we return to one of last year's hardest-hit Miami Valley communities: tight-knit Northridge. Beth Wentz and Timothy Walker raised their two children in the area as longtime homeowners in their first house together. On the night of the storm, Wentz and the kids clung together in the basement as a massive EF4 twister destroyed the house all around them. Walker had just started on third shift at a Clayton warehouse when his sister-in-law called.

Gateway Cathedral and Hope churches raised $27,000 to make to provide dinner, $600 giftcards, and toys for families and children attending the Christmas with a Cause: Neighbor to Neighbor banquet.
Jerry Kenney / WYSO

It’s been almost seven months since an outbreak of tornadoes caused tens of millions of dollars in damage, displacing hundreds of people across the Miami Valley. 

Since then, an army of government agencies, volunteers and advocates have been working to help restore hard-hit communities and assist survivors.

One December event organized by two partnering churches was designed to provide a boost to storm-affected families ahead of the holidays.

After the tornado, Timothy Walker, Beth Wentz and their kids relocated to a mobile home in Clark County.
Jess Mador / WYSO

People across the Miami Valley are continuing to clean up from the Memorial Day tornadoes. Among the strongest of the outbreak’s 15 twisters was an EF4 tornado that carved a path of destruction just north of downtown Dayton.

It hit Montgomery County’s Harrison Township especially hard, leaving almost 2,000 properties damaged. Now, six months after the storm, signs of recovery are visible in the small community. But for many Northridge residents, full recovery remains a far-off dream.

Sounds of construction fill the air in Northridge.

National Weather Service Storm Paths
National Weather Service/Montgomery County Auditor

More than 4,400 Montgomery County properties were damaged in the Memorial Day tornadoes. This is one of the takeaways from a comprehensive new damage survey released Thursday. The survey offers the most up-to-date look at the extent of property damage left by the storm across Montgomery County.

Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith says for the past few weeks his office has been working hard to get an accurate, up-to-date look at how extensive the property damage was from the storms in late May.

Harrison Township is storing tornado debris in a vacant lot off of Forest Park Drive.
Jason Reynolds / WYSO

Tornado cleanup continues in Harrison Township, where three twisters touched down on Memorial Day, leaving wreckage from one end of the township to the other.

More than 400 homes and apartments were destroyed in the outbreak, and township officials say they’re still working to connect displaced residents with relief services.

In a lot on Forest Park Drive, there’s a gigantic pile of storm debris roughly two stories high and about the length of a football field.

Shiloh Farmers Market
Shiloh Farmers Market

Every Saturday, for six months out of the year, in Harrison Township. - an area hard hit by the Memorial Day Tornado outbreak - a small farmer’s market operates at the corner of N. Main St and Philadelphia Dr.

From left to right, Bishop Richard Cox with SCLC, Attorney Michael Wright, and Patricia Martin, Dontae Martin's mother
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

The family of a black man shot and killed by Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies last week is accusing the sheriff’s office of smearing his name, and calling for a thorough investigation.

The facts people agree on: last week two white deputies responded to a 911 call about a single-car crash in Harrison Township. At the end of it, 34-year-old Dontae Martin was dead.