Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley walked the streets of the historic Oregon District Monday, one day after a mass shooting that killed nine innocent people.
“We’re processing what happened, but we still have to live,” says the mayor.
She grabbed a bite to eat at Blind Bob’s with some company, after the bar opened back up to customers.
“I had a cheeseburger, so I didn’t eat that healthy,” laughs Mayor Whaley, remaining in good spirits.
“This is what Dayton’s about — is these businesses, and they’re all locally owned, and that’s what makes this community so special,” she states.
The kitchen at Tumbleweed Connection also opened back up Monday after it was the place that one of the shooting victims ran to for help.
“She ran in the front door,” describes chef Leigh Helton. “[She] collapsed in my kitchen.”
Helton’s husband works a burger stand feet from where the gunfire erupted.
“I never, never thought it would be like that,” admits Michael Helton.
City leaders say patronizing Oregon District businesses has become more important than ever as they work to cope and recover.
“I just can’t believe what’s happened here,” says Jeff Blancett who lives downtown. “I wanted to do some shopping, but also see the memorial.”
“The Oregon District is a gathering place, always has been,” says the President of the Downtown Dayton Partnership Sandy Gudorf. “We’ve got one of the largest eclectic mixes of small businesses and they need our support right now.”
A unified message of #DaytonStrong appears through the streets, reminding the community and the businesses of their own strength.
“I believe in #DaytonStrong and I’m proud of it,” beams former Dayton resident John Perkins who came to the historic district to walk the streets.