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Tornadoes 1 month later: Trotwood family looks for memories of mom, wife in debris

Published: Thursday, June 27, 2019 @ 1:00 AM

Tosha Johnson with the blue glow of a tarped roof in Trotwood is taking life one day at a time with her family after the tornado took the roof off the family home. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Ty Greenlees
Tosha Johnson with the blue glow of a tarped roof in Trotwood is taking life one day at a time with her family after the tornado took the roof off the family home. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

It’s hard to understand what it’s like to lose your family’s home to a tornado if you haven’t lived through it, said Tosha Johnson.

So it is important to support those impacted by providing the support they need, and not the support you anticipate that they want, said the Trotwood teacher, whose family’s dream home was severely damaged by tornadoes.

“People have to meet people where they are and help them how they need to be helped,” she said.

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She and her father Wayne Johnson are still carefully sorting through the damaged contents of their home on Filbrun Lane one month out from the Memorial Day tornadoes.

Wayne Johnson said many of the items they are sorting through in the home might look ordinary and storm-damaged but hold the memories of his late wife, Deborah, who died in 2017. While it’s a lot of work, he said cleaning up the inside contents is something the family needs to do themselves.

“A lot of people didn’t understand,” he said. “And we kind of had to tell them, this is something we need to do. Just bear with us and support us, there will be time for other things, but right now this is a family thing we have to go through as family.”

Tosha Johnson said while they have been living nearby in Friendship Village, they have been staying in touch with neighbors, some of which are also temporarily in the same development.

She said her neighborhood have been cutting grass, raking and doing everything that they can to keep up the neighborhood.

“It’s always been like that. Everybody in there takes pride in their community,” she said.

Tosha Johnson, her father and her daughter Asia, went to the basement during the tornadoes and are thankful they survived unharmed. She said her grandmother had gone to the hospital and was not home at the time of the tornado.

However, the family home — her parents dream home when the bought it — was severely damaged.

The roof had blown off the top level and the windows had blown out. Part of the chimney fell down and the rain came in and caused damage.

The house is now tarped. Birth certificates were replaced. Some items were put in storage. Some photos were found and saved while others were washed out.

Wayne Johnson said they have been up at their house every day, working late. They’ve been cleaning, taking inventory, drying out their basement and home to prevent mold and mildew, and cleaning.

“We wanted to get in every nook and cranny because there was jewelry of mom’s that was displaced due to the tornado and we just wanted to try to recapture it if we could,” he said.

They are now working with their insurance adjuster to find out his final assessment of the damage and said she appreciates that he is paying attention to every detail of the house so that they can get the maximum value.

“That was my parents’ dream home,” she said. “So that is something of value that, in essence, can’t ever be replaced.”