Volunteers plant trees for those impacted by Memorial Day tornadoes

Local and national volunteers planted almost 200 trees throughout the parts of the Miami Valley that were hit by the 2019 Memorial Day Tornadoes.

>>PHOTOS: Volunteers plant trees for those impacted by Memorial Day tornadoes

Volunteers met just before 12 p.m. Saturday at Russ Nature Reserve in Beavercreek before spreading out across the Miami Valley to plant trees as part of the Miami Valley TREEcovery campaign.

News Center 7′s Taylor Robertson says they are working towards a goal of planting 1,000 trees. Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs even volunteered at Saturday’s event.

This is all thanks to a program called RETREET, founded 10 years ago by Grady McGahan. It’s in partnership with Keep Ohio Beautiful, Keep Montgomery County Beautiful and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission.

RETREET merged with Keep America Beautiful two years ago, a nonprofit organization leading a group of local, regional, and national volunteers in planting trees at sights where national disasters struck free of charge.

>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Volunteers to plant over 100 trees after 2019 tornados destroy Miami Valley treescapes

Robertson says the trees will be planted at homes in areas affected by the 2019 Memorial Day Tornadoes and an additional 50 trees will be planted in Russ Nature Reserve, which got hit pretty hard.

“When we started the planting, we were working on the western edge of the tornado impact area and have basically been following the path of the tornadoes from west to east, which is why we’re here in Russ Nature Reserve today (Saturday),” said McGahan.

He told Robertson this experience means a lot to both residents and volunteers.

“This a really meaningful experience, both from the resident side and from the volunteer side,” McGahan explained. “You know, they get together, they have this moment, everyone’s together. They plant a tree and for years, really decades after that, these volunteers and the residents will remember that moment.”

McGahan told Robertson Saturday this is the fourth year they have come out to plant in the Miami Valley and they are not done yet.

There will be another RETREET in October.