Mel-O-Dee Diner shares recipe for recovery after tornadoes

Tornado Recovery

NEW CARLISLE, Ohio (WDTN) – Since being hit and damaged by an EF-1 tornado in 2017, Mel-O-Dee diner in New Carlisle has bounced back to a booming business. Current manager, Lisa Childers, reports seeing dozens of customers a day, many of them visiting to eat for breakfast lunch and dinner.

The fragrant food and family atmosphere of the diner has kept customers coming back since 1965. So the Childers family knew that they could not shut their doors even after the tornado damage.

“We would never close. This community really depends on this restaurant to eat,” said Lisa Childers.

So how did they recover? Childers says insurance helped as they closed for 5 weeks to remodel and recover. But more than that, was the community’s response and support.

“Our customers would send donations, we had a big support system in the community. The first day that we opened, they were parking all the way at the grocery store next door,” said Childers.

Gerard Hammink, spokesperson for FEMA says that he too has seen a tremendous amount of community support that his helping those in the Miami Valley affected by the Memorial Day tornado outbreak of 2019 recover.

Right now, the amount of federal funding from FEMA for individuals is more than $3.2 million. The Small Business Administration reporting they have awarded more than $2 million to businesses for recovery efforts. Hammink says these numbers are not final as this is an on-going process, but he sees that the recovery process is underway.

“It may take months and years but that means Dayton will rebuild stronger,” said Hammink.

As a business that once had to overcome similar circumstances, the Childers family is now offering words of encouragement and support to those in Dayton.

“We didn’t have the damage near as what Dayton experienced, but I know the community is strong there in Dayton and [it] is helping them. It will all come together and it will all come out for the best…trust me,” said Childers.

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