Park Layne community continuing to rebuild a year after devastating tornado

Park Layne community continuing to rebuild a year after devastating tornado (WKEF/WRGT)

PARK LAYNE, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - When a community rebounds after disaster, it's a powerful thing.

"It's been a good year," said Lisa Childers, manager with Mel-O-Dee Restaurant. "It makes me want to cry. They've been really good to us."

"They" are the customers, and Lisa can't thank them enough.

"We've had the best year, probably ever," she told Fox 45's Shavon Anderson. "Since 1965."

May 24, 2017, six tornadoes ripped through the Miami Valley. One dropped right on the main strip of Park Layne. The damage devastated half a dozen businesses along Dayton-Lakeview Rd.

The Mel-O-Dee was shut down for five weeks before reopening.

"Almost gutting the whole place, expect for the kitchen," Lisa said.

For nearby businesses, it took a little longer. The Sunoco across the street just recently reopened. A motorcycle shop next door is still partly boarded up. Next to that is an empty lot where Family Dollar used to be. Today, the business is demolished, and there's a sale sign out front.

Ahead of the tornado's one-year anniversary, a new mural was placed in the Mel-O-Dee lobby earlier this week. It has pictures documenting the restaurants rebuild, and a special message for patrons.

"Without them, we wouldn't have the Mel-O-Dee. They're our family."

Lisa also designed and ordered t-shirts with the date and the slogan, 'There's no place like home.'

It's a witty keepsake and a bold reminder that strength can come from anywhere.

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