Community Gem: Brookville man has spent decades collecting furniture for those in need

What Pete Dull started in the late 1980s working with the Dayton Correctional Institution ministry has grown into a free furniture service that has helped hundreds of people in need.

“We got to know some of the guys in there pretty well,” the Brookville man said of the inmates. “And when they (were released), they’d sometimes get an apartment or a place to live.

“But they didn’t have anything,” he added. “So, we started collecting stuff just from friends and family and it just took off from there.”

Today, the 69-year-old Dull collects furniture from various sites. He stores it in a 40-by-64 foot barn built on his farm while helping to distribute the items to the less fortunate throughout the Dayton area.

His voluntary efforts were cited by Madalyn Bartley in her nomination of Dull as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem.

“When he picked up my things, he had a trailer full of furniture,” Bartley said, noting “he helps the families out by clearing out their cottage or apartment as soon as he can.

“This keeps the families from having to continue paying rent until it’s cleared out, and also replenishes the furniture he has to donate to the needy,” she told this news outlet. “Win-win situation!”

“The idea,” Dull said of the barn, “was half of it was supposed to be for furniture. But the whole things full of furniture.”

He estimated he makes about eight to 10 deliveries a week while helping his family operate the Dull Homestead.

“Today,” Dull said recently, “I’ll be picking up (things) from people who have a storage unit that they don’t want to pay for it anymore. So, I’m helping them go over and clean out stuff that I can use.”

Dull said he works with several organizations and people to collect items, often getting donations from the Brookhaven Retirement Community in Brookville or from families in suburbs like Centerville and Kettering.

“Most of the pickups are in suburbs,” he said.

He then gives them to families in areas like Dayton and Northridge, or to Montgomery County Children’s Services, the Salvation Army and the YWCA.

Dull said he often works with care facilities like Brookhaven “because It’s usually old furniture that’s really well-built and well taken care of.”

When patients die or need less space, “they’ve got extra furniture. So, a lot of times the families don’t really need it,” he said. “And sometimes the families are even coming in from out of state and they just want to get the stuff out of there.”

Dull is “a good guy,” Brookhaven’s Tami Walter said.

When the facility has excess furniture, “he’s here expeditiously and works things out. He brings the truck.”

Dull said he works with his church, the Christian Life Center, which helps him buy beds, but all other items are donated.

“A lot of times I don’t get enough beds,” he said, describing the ones purchased as sturdy, permanent cots with foam mattresses. “There’s so many kids sleeping on the floor.”

Dull said he has been on several missions in Africa and Mexico to build houses.

“It’s such a great experience to do a mission trip like that,” he said. “But we can do it locally, every day.”


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