Dayton Daily News Community Gems highlight the best in all of us

Generosity is a funny thing — it can leave the giver as fulfilled as the person to whom they gave.

All communities depend upon it — whenever people need help, it is often their neighbors who are the first to step in to offer a hand.

This year the Dayton Daily News heard from readers that in addition to the investigations and community news that we provide, they asked us to help them understand what is happening in our communities that is good and wholesome. So we launched the Community Gems initiative to shine light on people who give of their time, their talents and their resources. We wanted to celebrate what they did, and explore why.

We asked our readers to nominate people in their lives they felt deserved to be featured. The nominations flooded in. And the people our reporters met through these stories are amazing.

Ashley Browning, a Trotwood resident who works at Wright State University, organized friends and volunteers to help give out food and find homes for families after the 2019 tornados. “I enjoy just being able to bring awareness and education to people about the type of resources that are available for them,” she said. “Some times it’s a long process for people to get the things that they need.”

Lawrence Lindsey, a retired Army officer, runs an after-school program, Back to Basics Youth Education Center, in downtown Dayton for young people who don’t have access to computers and who want to learn programming. “My real success stories are two of my kids are going into the Air Force, and they’re going to be Information Technology Network specialists,” Lindsey said.

Erica Miller of Miamisburg wanted to help small animals and so she started her own nature rescue effort, Erica Miller Wildlife Rehab, and has since nurtured hundreds of critters back to health.

Charles Gau repairs bikes for children in West Carrollton. Ron Kelly of Springboro helps keep the trails at Caesar Creek State Park clear.

Uma Mullapudi of Beavercreek volunteers to help people get free meditation and yoga as a healing practice through the Hearfulness Center.

Carmela Daniels works in the Department of Veterans Affairs helping vets get help when they need it. “I think I’m just operating in my every day daily form, but it is service,” she said. “I thank God that somebody sees me this way even if many days I don’t.”

We met people who came together during some of our worst times — in the aftermath of tornados or the Oregon District shooting. And we met many who saw a small need in their part of town and decided to do something about it.

Rose Malone-Jones, who moved to Dayton from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, began a program called King’s Way and gives a home to three to four boys a year while they await adoption or a reunion with their families. A retired nurse, this amounts to a second career.

She told our reporter, London Bishop, why she continues to work to help young boys she does not know. “They can grow up to be anything and do anything they want to do, they just need some help,” she said. “If I can have just a little hand in that, that’s the goal.”

This is the season of gratitude. With this special section we are celebrating the first year of Community Gems and the generous people in our community. Our Community Gems features will continue to be available at, and we will resume telling new stories this upcoming spring.

We are looking forward to telling more stories of more people who make our communities better.

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