Miami Valley volunteers offering assistance to tornado survivors

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — It’s been nearly 2 years since 15 tornadoes tore through parts of the Miami Valley, and some families are still picking up the pieces. The Miami Valley Long-term Recovery Group has already helped more than 2,000 families get back into their homes and help is still available.

“My mind was literally please god keep us safe,” said Derrick Stephens, a survivor the 2019 Memorial Day tornadoes.

The storm wiped away 90 percent of his family’s belongings. Through word of mouth, they found a contractor  to rebuild their home in 2020, but nothing was going as they expected. They were told they would be in their home by June of last year.

“Three weeks turned into eight months,” Stephens explained.

After nearly two years, and spending about $100,00 with the contractor for unfinished work, they came across volunteers with the Miami Valley Long-term Recovery Group.

“The Stephens’ are a perfect example of why we do this work. There are people that badly want to recover. That love the neighborhoods they’ve been in and they just don’t have the resources to do it,” said Laura Mercer, executive director of the Miami Valley Long-term Operations Recovery Group.

The group launched after the tornadoes hit and so far they’ve handled more than 2,000 cases, nearly 450 of those requesting assistance with home repairs.

“This group came in and did things we didn’t know they were going to do, and things we didn’t even know to ask for and that’s the best thing about this they want to help. No strings attached, and no money,” Stephens said. “You have some light of being able to come home. I haven’t lived in our house or been in our bedroom in 2 years. So the fact that we have movement on our house is probably the one saving grace.”

Volunteers will wrap up repair work this October.  Homeowners needing assistance should contact the Miami Valley Long Term Recovery Group’s case management team ASAP at 937-223-7217 ext. 1137.

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