Holiday heroes in Harrison Township helping tornado victims at annual tree lighting

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WDTN) – The third annual Harrison Township Tree Lighting Ceremony was held in Dayton on Saturday. Hundreds of people showed up to participate in the event planned by the township, Sheriff’s office, local fire department and New City Church.

Some of the families who attended said the event was a holiday miracle. They are still struggling to make ends meet after the Memorial Day tornadoes and the holiday season was looking like it would be a tough time.

“I wouldn’t have any money to get any Christmas presents if they didn’t help us out,” said Pauline Smith who brought her family to the event.

The organizers of the event bought hundreds of toys and books for the families to take home and enjoy

“It’s a different atmosphere this year because of the tornadoes that went through the city so it’s a special time to gather together,” said Chris Reese, the pastor of New City Church.

The event featured photos with Santa, ornament decorating and a musical performance by Door 57, a local musical band. Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters were all standing outside to offer a cup of hot chocolate and a smile to visitors.

Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck says giving back in these ways can help build a stronger community in the aftermath of a tragedy.

“The goal now is ‘what can we do to help?’ because we want you to stay in Montgomery County and we want to stay as one,” said Sheriff Streck.

Some of the visitors say the event was a welcome distraction from the negative things that have been happening in Dayton recently.

I do know that it uplifts people’s spirits and definitely for a second lets you forget a little bit about the bad,” said Andrea Borum.

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