EDITOR’S NOTE: Sixteen tornadoes smashed through our community on Memorial Day 2019. Since that day, the Dayton Daily News has been on the ground reporting on the devastation and the work of recovery. Now, one year later, we are digging into the obstacles that remain, how the coronavirus pandemic has affected rebuilding and how communities have been changed forever. Go here for more of this coverage.
No matter how dark the night or fierce the winds. No matter how tired or lonely. Hope persists.
Hope persists for the thousands of residents still putting their lives back together from tornadoes that ravaged homes, upended lives and stole peace of mind a year ago. Hope persists for those who see the looming anniversary of the Oregon District shooting and the painful memories that brings. Hope persists for our region and nation as we survive in the shadow of a pandemic that threatens our safety and our economy.
Rainbows symbolize hope.
DAYTON STRONG: Memorial Day tornadoes one year later - Slow road to recovery
The Dayton Daily News is joining other area groups, such as the city of Dayton, in encouraging residents throughout our region to display that hope in the form of a rainbow in the window of their homes. The Dayton Daily News has printed a rainbow design made by a local artist in today’s newspaper that can be cut out for that reason.
You can, of course, make your own rainbow. Make it a family activity, as elaborate or simple as you like.
Click here to download the tornado poster
Today, these rainbows remind survivors of the tornado that they aren’t forgotten and that bright days are still ahead. In the future, other rainbows will paint our windows for other reasons.
And as we face each challenge, we must remember that while hope sustains us, this community is strong because of the way it puts that hope into action. We are a city and region small enough to realize we are all neighbors, whether in Beavercreek or Trotwood, or a township, city or village. We help each other. We give. And we are all stronger together.
Below is a list of resources for tornado survivors as well as opportunities for people to help in the recovery effort.
How to help
The Miami Valley Long-Term Recovery Operations Group is looking for volunteers who can help with efforts such as making masks for volunteers helping with home repairs, and distributing door hangers in storm-damaged neighborhoods to let people know repair and rebuild help is available. More activities will be added throughout the summer. See and sign up for volunteer opportunities on the agency's website, www.mvstrong.org.
The Dayton Foundation has established the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund to support the Miami Valley's long-term disaster recovery efforts. Donations to this fund will help secure the resources needed to repair and rebuild tornado-impacted homes and help individuals get back on their feet. For more information and to donate, visit daytonfoundation.org.
If donating by check, please mail it to The Dayton Foundation, 1401 S. Main St., Suite 100, Dayton, Ohio 45409. “Greater Dayton Disaster Relief” should be designated on the check.
Other ways to help
The Miami Valley Long-Term Recovery Operations Group is looking for skilled workers and donations of bulk building supplies to help rebuilding efforts. For details, visits the organization's website at www.mvstrong.org.
How to get help
Homeowners who were uninsured or underinsured, living in properties damaged by the tornadoes and needing help with repairs may be eligible for free assistance from the Miami Valley Long-Term Recovery Group. Individuals with an owner-occupied, tornado-damaged property must call the United Way’s Helplink at 211 or (937) 225-3000 by Aug. 1 to request this assistance.
Mental Health needs
The Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services agency created the website www.DaytonHeals.org to provide resources for people to help cope with grief and heartache after a traumatic event such as the tornadoes and recovery process. Samaritan Behavioral Health's CrisisCare Program also offers 24-hour suicide prevention and crisis counseling service at (937) 224-4646. There is also a Crisis Text Line to providing access to free, 24/7 support and information via text; to use that text 4HOPE to 741741.
The United Way 211 line also connects people to social service organizations who can help with other needs such as housing, food, and spiritual and emotional support. Call 211 to speak to someone about what services may be available.