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Neighbors, strangers pitch in to help Ohio tornado victims

Posted at 5:51 PM, May 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-28 20:09:10-04

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Ohio — They say people show their best in the worst of times, and they were doing that Tuesday after a tornado wiped out homes and businesses in areas north of Dayton.

“I was about this far away from having a brick right through my head,” Tom Reed said.

The Harrison Township man was grateful for help after the tornado damaged his house.

“I heard this strange noise after the lull. The lights went out and I thought, ‘I better pay attention,’” Reed remembered.

Reed took cover in his bathroom, just in time before the storm ripped off his roof.

Now he's thanking God and his neighbors.

“Neighbor came down to see if I was OK. I didn’t know him more than two weeks ago," Reed said. “That’s called humanity. That’s a God thing again. It’s people helping people. It’s real simple.”

Reed and others went house to house Tuesday to check on one another.

Melissa Carter of Vandalia was one of 20,000 people in the area who woke up without power. She was in a panic.

“I have three kids. They woke up. ‘Where’s breakfast?’” Carter exclaimed. “I can’t do the dishes. We can’t shower. That’s detrimental for people like me.”

But Dino Dimitrouleas, owner of George’s Family Restaurant, stepped up to help by cooking meals for Carter and others without power.

“I’m just crying happy tears,” Carter said, grateful to get a helping hand.

“It’s not me that I’m worried about, it’s my kids,” said Carter. “When I can’t provide for them, I can’t explain what’s going on.”

Sen. Rob Portman, who came to survey the damage, said he heard of similar acts of kindness happening across the region.

“The community came forward and helped each other and that’s obviously something that we love about our state,” Portman said.

Although the damage is severe – from crushed cars to leveled homes and businesses – Reed was grateful for the fact that no deaths or serious injuries were reported in the area.

“What I’m thankful for is the people who are still here alive to talk about it. We can’t rebuild people,” Reed said.

According to Dayton Power & Light, the first priority for restoring power is emergency situations, then it’ll work to bring customers back on line as quickly as possible.

Duke Energy says it has offered assistance but it has not been asked to send crews.