Live music echoed through downtown Dayton on a sunny Saturday afternoon and gave folks a reason to celebrate as the community continues to recover from the Memorial Day tornado outbreak.
The Dayton Strong Benefit Concert featured several bands from the region, food trucks, vendors and local organizations at the Riverscape MetroPark.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency set up booths around the main tent, giving tornado survivors an opportunity to register for financial assistance.
The event, which was organized in about a month’s time, was aimed at giving the residents a chance to relax and celebrate with neighbors and raise money for the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund, said Cassie Barlow, president of the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education.
“Everyone has been so incredibly helpful to each other and have reached out without question to help,” Barlow said. “We want to celebrate that and also give everybody a chance who have thought nothing other than tornado relief over the last month to just take a minute and relax and have some fun and enjoy being with your neighbors and enjoy some good music.”
“Dayton Strong” shirts were available to buy and the proceeds from sales were to benefit the disaster relief fund, which is being administered by the Dayton Foundation.
Barlow said the foundation is administering the funds as local agencies such as the Food Pantry put in requests.
“We know that this relief effort is going to take awhile. We want to have money a year down the road when people are still recovering and still need some money to help with the recovery,” she said. “When something hits Dayton, it hits the entire community. All of us are affected. That’s why it’s important for all of us to come together as a community and help each other.”
Storm Center 7’s McCall Vrydaghs emcee’d part of the festivities, introducing bands and interviewing several local mayors, including Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
Whaley recalled her experience on May 27 and seeing the reports of tornadic activity before going to bed, then waking up and seeing the devestation the storm left behind the next morning.
“I’ve just been completely amazed and continue to be amazed like today at just how resilient Dayton is,” Whaley told the crowd. “Just doing whatever is needed. That’s what I think makes this community so special.”
Donations to the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund can be made online by visiting www.daytonfoundation.org.
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