DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Friday, Chris and Dorothy Johnson were welcomed to their new home by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton and the Miami Valley Long Term Recovery Group. These two organizations along with other partners, volunteers and donors helped the Vietnam War veteran and his wife repair the extensive damage that the Memorial Day Tornadoes caused. It is the 17th tornado damaged home they have fixed together.
The Johnsons recalled sitting in their living room the night of the tornadoes when weather warnings convinced them to take cover in the basement. When the storms passed, they came back up the stairs to find the chairs where they had just been sitting covered in sharp shards of glass.
“We’re thankful to God for protecting us and that we’re still here to talk about it,” said Dorothy Johnson.
The Johnsons had lived in their home for 24 years. They say it was built in the 1920’s, but after the tornadoes it had to be completely remodeled. Everything had been destroyed from the roof to the windows and the siding.
“They needed help and that’s what we came here to do is give them help,” said Richard Wilson, with the Southbrook Christian Church Disaster Response Team.
Wilson and his team of volunteers had to delay from working on the house for three months due to the pandemic. Now they’ve adapted and learned how to work safely, but there are still many more people who need their help.
“There’s still hundreds [of houses[ left to do so it’s going to take another year or so,” said Wilson.
The president of the Old North Dayton Neighborhood Association says more than one-third of the neighborhood’s homes were impacted by the tornadoes. Habitat for Humanity shared during Friday’s ceremony that any one who still needs help should reach out to them because the resources are available and not being used.
Meanwhile, the groups are already starting the next recovery project which is the home next door to the Johnsons. This is where their daughter and grandaughter lived and their home was also destroyed. Now, they’re expecting to have a new home to live in within the next two to three months.
For more information about Habitat for Humanity, click here.
Individuals who still need help recovering from the tornadoes can now call Catholic Social Services directly to be connected to a disaster case manager at 937-223-7217 ext. 1137