Community Gems: Neighborhood association presidents work to improve McCook Field, Old North Dayton

DAYTON — Matthew Tepper, president of Old North Dayton’s neighborhood association, and Jerry Bowling III, president of the McCook Field neighborhood association, have seen a lot in their neighborhoods.

Residents in both neighborhoods have had to get special filters on their homes to make sure the air they were breathing was safe. Bowling has been involved in that project since the early 2000s.

Then there were the 2019 Memorial Day tornadoes that ripped through both neighborhoods.

Meg Mahoney nominated the two men as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem for their work in the neighborhoods. She said the two men saved residents’ lives in both cases.

“Everyone who has met Matt and Jerry knows they are truly the most selfless people,” Mahoney said. “They are committed to improving the lives and wellbeing of their community and ensuring that everyone within their neighborhood feels safe and welcomed.”

She said without Tepper and Bowling, some neighbors would not have been breathing safe air or would have gone without needed repairs to their homes.

Bowling is on a task force with the EPA for the superfund sites.

The neighborhoods are separated by a train track, and both have a lot of immigrants, older people and people in poverty. In Old North Dayton, Turkish, Sudanese, Guatemalan and Mexican immigrants are common, Tepper said.

Tepper and Bowling said it frequently made sense to work together because of the demographics and proximity of their neighborhoods.

“In the terms of sustainability, if we don’t make progress, then, we definitely aren’t sustainable, but the more progress we can make, the more sustainable the possibilities are,” Tepper said.

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