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From one disaster to another, and another…

It’s an absolutely beautiful day in Dayton and the painters are finishing up the last few areas on the outside of the building. Honestly, it’s pretty emotionally moving to actually be seeing this happening after the months of work it has taken to get to this point. This is one of the very last steps in our rebuilding project after losing part of our building and sustaining extensive roof damage on the rest of it in the Memorial Day tornadoes that tore through Dayton last year.

The section that fell has walls up again (left side of the above photo). The new roof over the entire building is up. There are new LED overhead lights, gas heaters, and HVAC. We were just beginning to feel like we could finally breathe again and be grateful that we were almost back to normal after an unbelievably difficult year.

Dayton had another horrible tragedy last August when a coked-up idiot decided that he would deal with his angst by shooting a bunch of people out having a good time in Dayton’s Oregon District. Immediately following the initial shock of hearing our little city of Dayton back in the national news I learned that the shooter had lived in Bellbrook, an even smaller southern suburb of Dayton where I live and had attended the High School about ¼ mile from my home.

I remember thinking sarcastically at the time, and I might have even said it out loud, “Nice one, universe. What do you do for an encore?”

And now I know.

It’s enough to make a preacher cuss, and although I am a man of faith, I’m not a preacher, so I’ve been cussing for a while now.

I have been told that Grandma Hyland used to say that tragedies happen in threes and although my brain tells me that makes no logical sense and the internet tells me there is just a human tendency to observe things in organized patterns known by psychologists as the Principle of Grouping, that doesn’t prevent me from wanting to scream at the sky, “THERE! Now you’ve had your three, so KNOCK IT THE HELL OFF!!!”

Of course, I know it’s not the end of the world. The sun will come out tomorrow, and all that. But sitting here today right at the brink of what they keep saying is going to be an extremely difficult couple of weeks, I’m having a hard time feeling comforted by that knowledge right now.

The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Payroll Protection Programs that have been created sound like they could be helpful, but they’re not actually happening yet as I write this, and since essentially every business in the country will be participating I can’t rationally believe that the process will go as smoothly or quickly as anyone would like. Incidentally, I do have a bit of a head start when it comes to working through the SBA disaster loan application process. I did that last year after the tornadoes hit and although we haven’t yet needed to draw against that disaster loan that we got approved for back then (thank you, Federated Insurance!), I was in familiar territory when I went back to the SBA website to start the applications for these new programs.

(Side note: Don’t pay someone to “help you through the process” of applying for these SBA things. It’s REALLY not that tricky once you get into it!)

I’m trying to find as many positive and hopeful stories that I can from the places that are emerging out the other side of their “difficult weeks”. I’m seeing stories about people finally emerging from their homes in Wuhan as the lockdown is finally ended there.

I’ve also just read that Fiat Chrysler is re-opening three plants (hey, there’s that number three again!) in Italy the day after their national lockdown expires.

Still, while I can see those things happening half a world away and know they’ll come for us here in the US too, they still seem too far away to make me feel better today. But I guess I know we’ll all get there. And, brothers and sisters, if a small, proud, family-owned manufacturing company in Dayton, Ohio can make it through what the last 12 months have brought us here, maybe I really do have some hope to share with the rest of the country.

So, hang in there, my friends. Be safe, be good to one another, and press on!

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