TROTWOOD, Ohio — The tornadoes on Memorial Day 2019 damaged or destroyed hundreds upon hundreds of homes. Now, after years of work to rebuild and restore the houses, potential homebuyers are getting closer to moving into their first purchased homes.
But the person it was for stood in the back, because she was too busy checking out what she hoped will be her next home.
Sonya North is a Harrison Township native, who nearly lost her life in the Memorial Day tornadoes. She recalled that night as a terrifying experience.
“Me and my grandson heard, I heard the loud noise,” North said. “I said come on, it’s time to go in the bathroom. As soon as we got in the bathroom, the lights went out and the floor just started shaking.”
She lost most of her belongings in the storm, and the devastation displaced her.
“I was homeless for 10 months,” she said. “Then this lady, the manager out there in Huber Heights, gave me a two-bedroom apartment with a reasonable rent, because you know all the rent done went up.”
“To get this house would be everything,” North said. “Family, getting family together. So, everything to me.”
She was introduced to the Home Ownership Center of Greater Dayton, a program of CountyCorp, which is working to restore and rebuild homes in Dayton for those rebuilding their lives.
“We’ve been working on these homes, there are about 16 that are underway,” CountyCorp President Steve Naas said. “We do plan to hit about 20-25, really just depends on demand.”
Naas said it’s heartwarming to see potential homebuyers fall in love with the homes.
“Being able to see someone in our community undertake that for themselves, for their family, for their next generations is just really special,” he said.
Wayne Kopp is a volunteer from Brethren Disaster Ministries who helped rebuild the home being viewed.
“I tell ya, I just met the lady that’s buying it,” Kopp said. “That’s the great thing about doing volunteer work, is meeting the people you’re helping. And seeing the joy on their faces that things are improving.”
It’s not yet official that North will buy the house as some red tape and qualifying requirements have to be met, but she’s got her heart and mind made up.
“I just want to know when I can move in,” she said. “Ain’t no fingers crossed. This is my house.”