GREENE COUNTY — The Xenia Boys don’t have to drive far this time to deploy into action.
The group of homegrown hometown volunteers is collecting donations and volunteering their time to help their own communities after multiple tornadoes struck the Miami Valley May 27. Some tornadoes were as strong as an E-F3.
The Xenia Boys was formed following Hurricane Harvey that struck Houston, Texas in 2017 when a handful of local men “got tired” of watching the destruction take place on the news and decided to take action.
“This is a homegrown thing we put together,” said Tom Arnett, an original organizer of the group, in a previous interview. “That’s one of the big things — what’s the organization behind this? There’s not. It started as Tom Arnett, Shawn [“Tank”] Long, Eric Shultz and Moorman’s Towing putting it together because we got tired of watching the news.”
They returned from Harvey relief actions for approximately one week when they deployed again to Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Last year, the group collected supplies and headed down to North Carolina to help with Hurricane Florence relief efforts.
Now, and for the first time, they’re looking out for their own.
They had previously gotten in touch with the Dayton Police Department to ask how they could help but received little direction because “they’re overwhelmed right now,” Long said, so they took a different approach about finding out about who needs help. Through word-of-mouth, the group is finding out about local individuals who need help and are springing into action to help them.
“We’re been getting messages all morning and we plan to go out every night, everyday, this weekend,” Long said, adding that the volunteers are donating their time in-between their jobs. “We’re trying to help as many people as we can — especially here at home.”
The day after the tornado struck and left its impact on some local rural areas, the group found out about an elderly man living on Ludlow Road who needed a fallen tree cut up and moved so that emergency vehicles could access his property if needed. The following day, May 29, the group helped clean-up a shop belonging to the father of a Xenia Boys volunteer on Dixie Drive in Vandalia that was demolished by the tornado.
“Then we’re going to make our way to Trotwood,” Long said. “We’re targeting that area because we heard that Trotwood needs a lot of help.”
The Xenia Boys are collecting supplies at Snap Fitness, 1822 West Park Square, Xenia; Uptown Charlie’s, 82 B Seaman Drive, Jamestown; Domino’s Pizza, 17 N Allison Ave., Xenia. If individuals wish to give monetary donations, they have a Wright-Patt Credit Union account set up under “Xenia Boys” or accounty number 1020006096803.
They’re also selling T-shirts with proceeds supporting the group. Long said the Xenia Boys are in need of chainsaw blades, as they are “eating through them,” he said, as well as gas and water.
“A bunch of people say ‘we want to help’ but they don’t know how — get ahold of us,” Long said. “We thought about making it into a non-profit organization, but we don’t have time for that paperwork. We’re volunteers — a group of hometown boys — and we want to help.”
To get involved as a volunteer for the Xenia Boys or to call on them for help, visit their Facebook page at https://bit.ly/311JZhU. Long highlighted that the group updates that page regularly.