Meghan Porter and daughter Gemma,6, of Beavercreek stand in front of a damaged apartment complex. Porter said her childhood home in Beavercreek was destroyed. BILL LACKEY/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

COMMENTARY: What Dayton took to the basement

Sure, people carried “things” with them to basements, bathrooms and other safe spaces when tornado sirens blared, alerts sounded on phones and grim-faced meteorologists forecast dangers:

Water.

IDs.

Purses.

Phones.

Flashlights.

Blankets.

Radios.

Credit cards.

Pillows.

Diapers.

Photo albums.

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Volunteers from Christian Aid Ministries in Berlin, Ohio traveled to Trotwood and began cleaning up debris at houses along Denlinger Road on Thursday. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

Still, so much was left to the elements in the “unsafe places” during the Memorial Day tornadoes that bent this community.

Must-haves, the latest gadgets and the top toys of the year were left where they stood before the danger.

Some of those things were gone in the blink of an eye as tornadoes ripped apart neighborhoods.

Must-haves, the latest gadgets and the top toys of the year were destroyed and/or displaced.

They littered yards and were buried beneath rubble.

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Tim Stine removes items from his kitchen at his home on State Route 571 near West Milton on Wednesday. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

It is the non-things people brought with them to safe places that proved more valuable than the must-haves, latest gadgets and top toys of the year.

We huddled with our people — mothers, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, aunts, neighbors, wives, uncles, sons, friend, etc. — and pets in basements, bathrooms and other safe places when the threat of destruction loomed so thick we could not imagine the next steps.

The things we carried with us mattered, but we carried them for the non-things that really count.

Flashlights illuminate. Pillows provide comfort. Photo albums contain memories.

The flesh and blood things sustained us when things were dire and the future was uncertain.

The flesh and blood things will sustain us as the community rebuilds itself, too.

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Trotwood residents Ryan an Danielle Johnson rode out the tornado in the basement on Monday night and discovered half of their roof missing on Wolf Creek Run. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

The reason is simple.

The must-haves, latest gadgets and toys of the year can always be replaced, and actually are with every new must-have, latest gadget and toy of the year.

The pets and the people we love can not be so easily replaced.

Rebuilding Dayton won’t be easy, but it will be done for, and with, the non-things we actually love.

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