DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – RTA provided shuttle service for Gem City Shine attendees at UD Arena beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Many of those waiting for a ride to the Oregon District had connections to the Memorial Day tornado outbreak and the shooting on May 4.
Wendy from Springfield was meeting with her daughter and a friend who live on Fifth Street. Her daughter moved to the Oregon District on August 1, three days before the shooting.
“Fortunately she was safe and sound and in her room,” Wendy said. “She heard the sirens and thought it was just normal, she hadn’t experienced the nightlife yet.
“I found out (about the shootings) at 8 a.m., and called her. It was a concern for us, but on the other side was the police response was phenomenal. They are showing an even larger presence there, so that makes us feel much better.”
Melissa lived in Xenia previously and worked at the local Blockbuster. Dave Chappelle and his family were regular customers.
“I’ve met Dave several times and know half his family,” Melissa said. “He’s a very nice guy and they are very nice people. It’s nice to have someone bring attention to the good things about Dayton.”
Most of those waiting in line had their favorite acts they hoped would show up. Most hoped Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper would make an appearance, others mentioned John Mayer. Cooper had been in Dayton for Chappelle’s Juke Joint party. Cooper cast Chappelle and Gaga in his film “A Star is Born.”
“It doesn’t matter to me who is here celebrity wise,” Danny Copeland of Fairborn said. “To me, it’s about bringing the community together. That’s what I think is the most important.”
Copeland works for State Farm Insurance. Many of his clients had homes destroyed during the Memorial Day tornadoes.
“We had to go out and hold a lot of hands and give a lot of hugs,” Copeland said. “There were a lot of people who lost their homes.
“These events, they can shape not just Dayton and Ohio but the nation. Maybe help us rethink things, not just our community but elsewhere.”
One of the first in line was Antoinette Hampton, who is vice president of resource development for the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area.
Hampton said the United Way was working in the Oregon District today. She was appreciative of Chappelle for putting this event together.
“He’s been here to support people, even with the tornadoes,” Hampton said. “He loves the community and the area, he’s from here and he’s doing what he can just like the rest of us. Everyone in the Dayton area is sympathetic and they step up when someone is in need.”
RTA will run shuttles until 1 a.m. for people parking at UD Arena.