The landscape of Sinclair Park, located less than a mile from the tornado-ravaged Foxton Court apartments, was devastated following the storms of 2019. The once lush environment, filled with towering trees, is now almost baronial. “I was told (by community members) that if you stood anywhere in the park, you couldn’t see the sky and the sun wouldn’t hit you,” McGahan said.
Rap Hankins, who lives nearby, is a big supporter of TREEcovery’s efforts. Having lived through the tornadoes and seen the extensive damage, both at home and throughout his community, he knew that recovery would not be complete until the landscape was repopulated.
As a former Trotwood Councilman who is still involved in the community through his work with the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and the City of Trotwood Planning Board, Hankins was instrumental in introducing the RETREET program in Dayton, working with local organizations and helping with fundraising efforts. , he said.
“It’s important work because you can rebuild a house, but you can’t rebuild the trees you’ve lost,” he said. “If you’re used to trees in your community and in your home, when those trees are gone, that wound never heals.”
Hankins said the TREEcovery effort is about more than just trees.
“It gives you a sense of hope and optimism,” he said, adding that he hopes the people of Dayton will always remember the rallying support shown throughout the community in the wake of the tragedy. .
“When the bad comes, we will rebuild and be better than before,” he said. “That’s what RETREET reminds you of and that’s why it’s so important.”