Helping hands after Harvey: Community offers resources, aid for Texas

Published: Thursday, August 31, 2017 @ 11:42 AM
Updated: Thursday, August 31, 2017 @ 6:17 PM

            An ambulance from the Eaton-based MedPro is seen in Houston. SUBMITTED
An ambulance from the Eaton-based MedPro is seen in Houston. SUBMITTED

In the days after Harvey spilled destruction over a broad swath of Texas, Ohioans quickly mobilized to help residents there recover from the storm by donating money, bottled water and supplies and by putting themselves squarely in the disaster zone.

Three area family members are among eight medics and EMTs from an Eaton-based ambulance company in Houston responding to emergencies after Hurricane Harvey.

Since arriving Sunday, MedPro part owner Ernie Hatmaker said the crews have treated injuries and illnesses inside emergency shelters as well as supported evacuation efforts in the event an evacuee needed immediate treatment or an emergency worker sustained injury.

HELP: How you can assist the victims of Hurricane Harvey

Hatmaker of Eaton is joined on the deployment by his son, Nathan Hatmaker, who became an EMT just months ago. Also on the trip is Hatmaker’s brother, Patrick Caylor of New Carlisle, another a part owner of the company.

The medics and EMTs are “technically on call all the time,” however the Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinators are ensuring rest time for the responders, Hatmaker said.

When needed, the company’s four ambulances join others from across the country on the “ready line” outside NRG Stadium, where the Houston Texans play football. They are sleeping on cots in one of the center’s exhibition halls.

Hatmaker has lost count of how many times they’ve been dispatched.

“They all start running together,” he said.

RELATED: Task force moves to next phase of rescue in Houston

The company contracts with FEMA to respond to crisis when needed. This is the sixth deployment for Hatmaker and the first for his son.

“I think if we had a problem in our area we’d want the help coming,” Hatmaker said. “You help out with the expectation that at some point in time you may need it back.”

Hurricane Harvey made landfall Friday night, pounding the Texas coast before bringing days of heavy rainfall to the Houston area and causing catastrophic flooding.

Messages on bottles

Those from southwest Ohio donating water are also sending words of hope to Texans along with the bottles.

Just a few of the messages written on the packaging and pallets bound to those without water: Ohio sends love, We are thinking of Texas, Ohio is praying 4 Houston, and You R strong Texas.

Bottled water packaged in cases is still being collected this week at The Foodbank and Sinclair Community College.

Michelle Riley, CEO of The Foodbank, said donations through Thursday are close to filling a third semi trailer. The first two deliveries directed by Matthew 25: Ministries should pull out of The Foodbank’s Dayton warehouse next week, while Feeding America will handle logistics of the third.

The Foodbank will be closed for the Labor Day holiday on Monday, but Riley said cases of water can still be dropped off today and Tuesday through Thursday next week.

RELATED: Harvey: Bottled water donations being collected in Miami Valley

“People are coming by with a case, some people are coming by with a half of skid. People are pulling up with trucks,” she said. “The Miami Valley is always very generous to our community, but to see such a response to this national crisis is wonderful.”

Doing what needs done

Sue Smith has been running errands – a lot – since the American Red Cross volunteer arrived Monday in Austin, Texas.

“I’m running whatever needs to be run. Picking up people, picking up supplies,” said Smith of Washington Twp. “Whatever needs to be delivered.”

Smith is working out of the Austin Convention Center as the Red Cross prepares to house up to 2,500 Harvey evacuees there from points east. The state has asked Austin to take up to 7,000 displaced by the storm.

While the mega-shelter at the convention center has yet to take in evacuees, the facility is full of activity because it’s the main point of entry for volunteers deployed to the state due to airport shutdowns in Houston, Smith said.

“There’s just a huge crew of people here,” she said. “It’s just amazing the amount who volunteer to give up a couple weeks of their life to come here and help other people.”

The Dayton-Area Chapter where Smith is based announced Thursday a $50,000 donation from the charitable arm of Fuyao Global and Fuyao founder Cho Tak Wong.

“We’re going to be sending it right to Harvey to take care of all of the disaster relief issues … getting volunteers to the area to opening up shelters and providing safety and water and food and all those needs,” said Cory Paul, the Dayton chapter’s executive director.

35 tons of supplies so far

Also on Thursday, Ohio Task Force 1 continued search operations in southeast Houston. The Kettering-based urban search and rescue team has been based out of a staging area at Katy High School.

RELATED: Harvey flooding overtakes Cedarville grad’s Houston-area home

A team of 49 people left early one week ago with six boats and by Wednesday afternoon had rescued nearly 200 people. The group’s canine search teams could become more active in next few days, according to the team’s spokesman.

Two C-17 Globemaster III cargo jets based at Wright-Patterson hauled troops, food and equipment from bases throughout the United States to Texas on Wednesday, according to Lt. Col. Steven R. Shrader, deputy operations group commander at the 445th Airlift Wing.

Wright-Patt crews have delivered more than 35 ton of supplies thus far, he said.

“At the end of the week last week when we saw the devastation going on, people were asking ‘When am I needed to help?’ ” he said.

Staff Writers Barrie Barber, Tom Gnau and Lisa Powell contributed to this report.

How to donate water

Commercially-bottled water accepted only in case-sized packaging.

The Foodbank

56 Armor Place, Dayton, OH 45417

Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sinclair Community College

444 West Third Street, Dayton, OH 45402

Building 12, Ponitz Conference Center

Perry Street Circular Driveway – Drive up and drop off

Friday, 8 a.m. to noon

How to help

For a complete list of local efforts to help those in need in Texas after Harvey, go to

No injuries from apartment fire on Summit Square Drive in Dayton

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 11:28 PM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:16 AM

UPDATE @ 12:12 a.m.: An arson investigator has been called to the scene of the apartment fire in the 800 block of Summit Square Drive. 

Dayton Fire Capt. Brad Baldwin said crews arrived to find heavy fire on the first floor of a unit and at least two people had climbed out of a second-floor window before crews arrived. 

The fire affected three apartments -- flames damaged one, smoke got into the adjoining units. 

One of the occupants said she heard "popping and cracking" coming from the kitchen, Baldwin said. 

No injuries were reported, he said. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


Crews are dealing with a fire in the 800 block of Summit Square Drive in Dayton. 

Dayton crews were dispatched just after 11 p.m. on a report of a possible structure fire. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Dayton police officer under investigation for OVI

We're hearing they arrived to find heavy flames in a first-floor unit. There are no reports of injuries. 

We have a crew on the way. We will update this developing report. Stay with for breaking news.

Soldier from Clark County is missing from Fort Drum, New York

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 9:27 PM

Soldier from Clark Co. missing out of Fort Drum, NY

Spc. Trevor Nichols, a soldier from Clark County, is missing from Fort Drum, N.Y., and a national organization is asking for the public's help in finding him. 

"I see absolutely nothing that says foul play" or suicide, Brenda Paradise, a private investigator who volunteers for Guardian Search and Investigations. 

That organization issued a press release Thursday about Spc. Nichols, 24, of Tremont City, was was last seen Nov. 17, according to Guardian Search and Investigations. 

The is reporting that the specialist left without his driver’s license, military ID card or his cell phone and has not had any contact with his family since being missing. 

Julie A. Halpin, Fort Drum spokeswoman, told the news organization that Spc. Nichols was a soldier with the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team as of November. He was listed as absent without leave on Nov. 15 and his status was updated to deserter on Dec. 18. 

Paradise, in an interview with tonight, said the specialist was in basic training in 2012, has served a tour in Afghanistan and just returned from a tour in Iraq last May. 

Spc. Nichols is estranged from his wife and they have a son who is just shy of 2 years old, Paradise said. She was living on base with the specialist until recently, Paradise said. 

Paradise said the military was transitioning him farther away from his son, and that may have affected the specialist. 

Spc. Trevor Nichols (Courtesy/Nichols family)

The soldier's mother, Erin Nichols, also has filed a missing person's report through the Clark County Sheriff's Office. 

"I can't even imagine where he would have gone," she said in a phone call Thursday night. 

Mrs. Nichols said her son, the youngest of three boys who grew up in Enon and joined the Army right out of Enon High School, was to report to Fort Riley, Kansas, on Dec. 7. 

She said she also believes that transfer has something to do with her son being missing. 

Mrs. Nichols said she last spoke with him by phone on Nov. 14, the day he was trying to move his estranged wife's belongings to storage. 

If you have information about Spc. Nichols, you are asked to call investigator Paradise at 907-795-5292, referencing case number 17-1689237, the Tremont City, Ohio, police department at 937-969-8281, or 911.

Good Samaritan Hospital closing will stress EMS transport system, Dayton chief says

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 10:41 PM

EMS transport system impacted by Good Sam closure

Premier Health's decision to close Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton by the end of the year will stress the city fire department's emergency transport system, but the issue will be regional issue in terms of emergency medical service response and transport, Dayton Fire Chief Jeffrey Payne said. 

"It will leave a little bit of a void in coverage for emergency rooms we can transport to," he said of the Dayton Fire Department, but "we should still be able to get patients to the hospital within five minutes or so, for the most part." 


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The closing of Good Samaritan will mean longer transport times, which will stress the Dayton Fire Department's system, the chief said, noting, "this could be problematic, but I think it's something we can handle." 

The protocols -- official procedures or a system of rules under which all hospitals and fire departments operate -- call for taking patients to the closest hospital. 

Payne said, "The most important message we need the public to understand is that regardless of which hospital you go to ... whether it's Miami Valley, Kettering, Grandview, the VA , Wright-Patt, they all operate under the same protocols to make sure you get swift, efficient and effective patient care." 

He warned that the void left by the hospital's closing will be a regional issue, not just a city of Dayton issue, in terms of EMS response and transport because there are a number of fire departments that normally transport to Good Samaritan Hospital. 

Payne stopped his comments there, saying he didn't want to speak for those other fire departments.

Dayton officer who spoke about police shootings under investigation for OVI

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 7:31 PM

25-year-old Jermar Rayford was pulled over in Greene County last week.

Dayton Police Officer Jermar Rayford appeared in court this week on an OVI charge stemming from a traffic stop in Greene County just after 2 a.m. on Jan. 12. 

According to documents from Fairborn Municipal Court, Rayford, 25, was driving a black 2017 Dodge bearing Florida license tags when he was stopped by an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper on eastbound Col. Glenn Boulevard near Presidential Drive in Beavercreek. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Police searching for suspect in shooting

He was driving 69 mph in a 45-mph zone, according to the court document, and refused a blood alcohol test. 

Rayford was summoned into court on Tuesday morning. 

He is the police officer who performed the Superman in 2015 while dancing to Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) at the Taste of All Things Oregon.

RELATED: Meet Dayton’s whipping, nae-naeing cop

The 2010 Chaminade Julienne graduate became a local celebrity when several people posted videos and photos of his dancing to social media. 

Rayford also gained local attention in July 2016 when he posted a video to social media, offering an emotional plea to the Dayton community focused toward police-community relations.

RELATED: Dayton officer’s plea - ‘I bleed just like you’

At the time, he said he posted the video in reaction to the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, both of whom were killed by police. The video surfaced hours before five Dallas police officers were shot and killed.

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