Thousands of dollars and spirits raised during Dayton Strong concert

“They said, ‘It gave me a chance to enjoy music. I didn’t have to think about recovery or the things I’ve lost’,” organizer said.

A community event thrown in support of those who survived the Memorial Day tornadoes raised thousands of dollars, but an organizer said the impact went far beyond that.

Cassie Barlow, president of Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE), said she could not count the number of people who came up to thank her organization  for the Dayton Strong Benefit Concert on Saturday, July 13.

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“They said, ‘It gave me a chance to enjoy music. I didn’t have to think about recovery or the things I’ve lost’,” Barlow said of the event held at  RiverScape MetroPark. “They said, ‘It gave me a chance to rest for awhile.’”

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The event spearheaded by SOCHE and Five Rivers MetroParks was the brainchild of Felita LaRock, a former lead vocalist for the U.S. Air Force Band of Flight.

The Dayton Foundation, RTA, Five Rivers MetroParks, Key Ads and Cox Media Group Ohio were among the presenters.

Storm Center 7's McCall Vrydaghs served as emcee for part of the event, which included performance by the Community Choir, Vince and The Fellas, Jamie Suttle, The Sinclair Community College Faculty Jazz Combo, Moment's Notice and The Dayton Funk All-Stars.

Credit: SOCHE

Credit: SOCHE

Barlow said $2,698 was raised by cash donations for the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund established by the Dayton Foundation.

Barlow said the amount does not include money donated electronically.

The Dayton Foundation recently announced that the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund was nearing the million dollar donation mark.

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An organizer of the Dayton Strong Beer Bash also held Saturday said the amount raised by the event has not been fully tallied.

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Credit: SOCHE

Credit: SOCHE

Those funds will be added to the Dayton Area Brewers Tornado Relief Fund through the Dayton Foundation, which is affiliated with the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund, a spokesperson for the Dayton Ale Trail Facebook page said.

“The biggest thing is thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who helped,” Barlow said.

Credit: SOCHE

Credit: SOCHE

Concert-goers donated money, as did food truck owners. A masseuse donated her tips.

Dayton Strong T-shirts sold during the event are still available for sale at

The shirts are $20 with $5 of each sale going to the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund.

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