Interested in donating to help OCSEA members directly impacted by the Dayton tornadoes? OCSEA District 2 is accepting financial donations to help members in need. Chapters and individuals can make checks out to OCSEA District 2, RE: Dayton Strong and mail to OCSEA, ATTN: Melissa Oatney, 390 Worthington Rd. Suite A, Westerville, OH 43082.
OCSEA leader and activist Jerry Brown considers himself lucky and blessed. He was only without water and power for three days after a series of tornadoes touched down over Memorial Day weekend, destroying huge sections of his hometown of Dayton.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for many of Jerry’s neighbors. While his cul-de-sac was left intact, “a quarter mile in any direction the devastation was very real,” he said. “They looked like doll houses,” he said of homes just around the corner where roofs had blown off and walls collapsed. “Like you could see right through them,” he said.
A lifelong resident of Dayton, Brown says he’s never seen anything like this before in Dayton. “Not within Dayton, not like this,” he said.
Like so many of his friends and neighbors, Brown was wrapping up the Memorial Day weekend with family and was not expecting what was headed their way. “We were paying attention, sure, but once you saw so much concern by the meteorologists, we knew something was seriously wrong,” said Brown. He said one newscaster broke down and cried on the air and another yelled at social media trolls who wanted to see the Bachelorette instead of news about the weather catastrophe.
Brown and his family have no basement so they hunkered down in the hallway with nothing but a laptop to light their way and to keep up on the news. And they prayed. “For a long time you heard wind and rain, but then it got eerily quiet. Just like you hear about. There was like a hush,” he said.
With no electric nor water for several days, Jerry used a generator to keep some electric going. And while he feels fortunate, Brown says there are several of his fellow union members who were not so lucky. Management and union members at his OCSEA 5725 Chapter are collecting toiletries for those affected who work at Dayton Correctional Institution.
In addition, the greater Dayton community has really come together with groups doing clean up and wearing shirts that say “Dayton Strong.” And many restaurants are providing meals for those who in need. The Red Cross and The Foodbank, Inc. continue to lead the relief effort in the area and members can click on the links to donate. Or go HERE to find additional ways to help.
For Jerry, the lesson of Dayton is a real one: “From now on, when you hear those sirens go off, you better have a plan.”