This year marks the fifth anniversary of the destructive 2019 Memorial Day tornadoes. How has our community recovered? What still needs to be addressed? What have we learned to prepare for future tragedies? In Ideas & Voices, hear from several contributors discuss the recovery and current state of neighborhoods affected by the path of the tornadoes:

After the tornadoes, our neighborhood rallied with resilience

“I’d like to focus on the good that came from this terrible event. Immediately following the storm, the entire neighborhood rallied together. Within days, neighborhood leaders had coordinated with city officials to orchestrate a massive cleanup of debris. This brought many new partners into our network that have been working with us ever since, like Declare Dayton, which continues to host city-wide cleanups every spring. Local stores immediately started donating bottled water because even those who incurred no property damage were left without electricity or water for days. Rep. Phil Plummer showed up with an entire pallet of water and from there on we had Dayton Children’s coordinating the other donations flooding the neighborhood. Of course, FEMA and other state and federal agencies arrived promptly to start coordinating their resources. The Salvation Army Kroc Center was there from day one and for many months on utilizing their resources and campus for on-site outreach. And we had myriad examples of small (sometimes even one-person) local organizations bringing boots to the ground helping however they could.”

Read more from contributor Matt Tepper

Trotwood will continue to rebuild stronger than before

“Over the years, Trotwood has made remarkable progress in rebuilding what was lost. Through the collective efforts of residents, and volunteers, many homes have been reconstructed, businesses have reopened their doors, and essential infrastructure has been restored. The scars of the disaster are still visible, but they serve as a reminder of the community’s resilience and perseverance. However, the work is far from over. There are still areas in Trotwood where the wounds inflicted by the Memorial Day tornadoes have yet to fully heal. Some families are still grappling with the challenges of finding permanent housing. Rebuilding efforts remain ongoing, with a focus on ensuring that every member of the community is supported in their journey towards recovery.”

Read more from contributor Norman J. Scearce

A home should be a place to live in peace, security, and dignity

“More than 800 properties were destroyed, forcing thousands to find temporary housing. While a number of the rental units in the damaged area were eventually replaced, too many of the new units are no longer affordable to low-to-moderate income residents. The temporary and permanent loss of affordable housing in the parts of Dayton impacted by the tornado offers us an opportunity to reflect on the larger issue confronting the region.”

Read more from contributors Dr. John Malas and Dr. Sue Sack

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