John Williams holds some paperwork, including a utility bill, which he took with him to an appointment to apply for $1,000 in tornado damage assistance from the Veterans Service Commission of Montgomery County. The commission is offering to help veterans pay up to $1,000 of their insurance deductible.

Local vets can get $1,000 to help pay for tornado damage

John Williams is unsure just how much it will cost him to fix his house damaged in one of the Memorial Day tornadoes. But, he knows that up to the first $1,000 may be covered by a local veterans organization.

Williams, whose home at 3322 Rolfe Ave. was hit by a tornado just over a week ago, sought help from the Veterans Service Commission of Montgomery County. The Commission is offering qualified vets up to $1,000 to help pay their insurance deductibles if their home was harmed by a tornado.

“All you have to do if you’ve got the paperwork is show up,” said Williams, a Navy veteran. “Every little bit helps.”

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Williams expects to know just how much money the commission will give him within the next seven to 10 days, he said.

Anyone interested in applying for assistance from the commission can call 937-225-4801 or email veteransinfo@mcohio.org. Vets need to provide a portion of their insurance policy in order to apply and Williams said it was helpful to bring along a utility bill to his appointment at the commission’s offices.

“We thought that would be very meaningful,” said Mark Landers, executive director of the service commission. “We’re getting plenty of calls already.”

The initiative could go far in Montgomery County, due to the large veterans community, Landers said. Ohio is also home to more than 864,000 veterans and there are more than 41,000 in Montgomery County alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

As the tornado landed in his Dayton neighborhood on the night of Memorial Day, Williams was at his girlfriend’s house near Centerville.

The tornado blew a 10-foot hole in Williams’ roof and pushed one of the walls of the structure out by about three inches, he said. Many of the surrounding homeowners were less lucky as several had their roofs completely ripped off, Williams said.

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Williams said his neighborhood looks like something out of “a nightmare.”

“I was very fortunate,” Williams said. “I had a lot of damage but it’s not a total loss. That’s probably the best way to say it.”

The National Weather Service has confirmed 15 tornadoes touched down in Ohio on Memorial Day.

An EF 4 tornado, with winds up to 170 miles-per-hour, was wider than half of a mile and traveled 19 miles on Memorial Day. Among the other touchdowns was an EF 3 twister that struck near West Milton and an EF 3 tornado that hit Celina.

At least 50 vets had contacted the commission as of Monday morning, Landers said. The commission, Landers said, is trying to process applications for the aid as quickly as possible and is scheduling appointments with vets interested.

People who may know a vet whose home was damaged should encourage them to apply, Landers said.

“A lot of people don’t want to ask somebody for help,” Landers said. “Especially veterans.”

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