DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A Dayton church is working to help the community heal this holiday season at the end of a difficult year.
Dozens gathered at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church for “Healing for the Holidays,” a special event to pay tribute to those affected by the Memorial Day tornadoes and the Oregon District mass shooting.
According to organizers, several members of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church survived the Memorial Day tornadoes.
“Getting to know yourself all over again,” said Pamela Carter of the past six months. “Going through stuff and trying to relocate, get back on your feet.”
Carter told 2 NEWS she lost her Trotwood home in the storm and has since moved to Columbus. She tries to get back to Dayton every few weeks to see her church community, she said.
“We don’t want to just come together for business as usual,” said Pastor Renard Allen, Jr. “We want to share the substance and joy and message of our music with the city.”
Allen said he felt it was important to recognize the Dayton Police Department for their work over the past year through multiple tragedies.
“Nothing meant more to me than to be consistently in the community after all these tragedies and just be touched and embraced by the community,” Chief Richard Biehl said.
As for Pamela Carter, she said she is hoping to return to the Dayton area someday. Sunday night’s service brings her a sense of joy and hope, she said.
“I made it through the storm, and you can make it through anything with God first,” Carter said.
Pastor Allen also presented the police officers with 30 roses to be given to fallen Detective Jorge Del Rio’s widow.
A portion of donations collected at Sunday’s event will go toward the Dayton Foundation, according to organizers.