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“I used to run around in that area,” Tomlinson said.
The 1998 Belmont High School grad took it personally when the worst of 15 tornadoes to roll through the Dayton area on Memorial Day hit the neighborhood, parts of which now resemble a war zone.
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Like so many in the wake of the storms, Tomlinson and business partner James Webster did what they could to help.
The owners of Chief Screen Printing at 4025 Marshall Road in Kettering started making and selling Dayton Strong T-shirts.
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Thus far, the business launched in early 2017 and named for Webster’s late father — retired Chief Master Sgt. Roy Webster — has sold about 800 shirts for $15 each, donating $8, the profit after cost, to The Foodbank.
“I had friends and family member affected,” Tomlinson, now a Kettering resident, said. “I can’t physically go there during work hours. So it is a way for us to print shirts and contribute.”
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Nearly $5,500 has been raised for the nonprofit that provides supplies for more than 100 member food pantries, community kitchens and shelters that serve as the charitable hunger relief network in Montgomery, Greene and Preble counties.
Chief Screen Printing continues to sell the shirts.
Tomlinson said former Daytonians have requested the shirts from all over the country.
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Tomlinson said he knows personally the good work The Foodbank does.
“I used them when I was a kid,” he said. “My mother was a single mother and she used them to get by.”
Webster said the shirts will be sold as long as possible because the need remains, even though many have moved on to other things.
“The first month or two everyone was gangbusters,” Webster said. “Go three or four months out and they (nonprofits) are back to getting help from their base supporters.”
Days have ticked on, but the community has not yet healed, Tomlinson said.
“There are still people who need help,” he said.