Ready to help when needed


By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

This Disaster Aid USA team including (left to right) Dave Roasa, Jan Roasa, and Andrea Russell-Mann went to Mississippi in March to help residents in need after a tornado outbreak. The organization just placed a disaster response trailer in Grove City.

While there are no major working disasters in the United States currently, Grove City resident Dave Roasa knows from experience it’s just a matter of time.

As a member of Disaster Aid USA, he has seen nature at its worst, whether it was a tornado outbreak that decimated the city of Rolling Fork, Miss. in March of this year, or Hurricane Ian that devastated several communities across multiple states in 2022.

Yet Roasa has also seen humanity at its best, and now he’s working to ensure there is a greater local presence that can respond to disasters both nationally and close to home.
Disaster Aid USA is a national Rotary Club project, but is supported by businesses, churches, other non-profit organizations and volunteers who do not have to be Rotarians to help. When a natural or man-made disaster occurs, donations provide the aid needed to help residents rebuild their lives.

The organization just placed its 24th disaster response trailer in Grove City, and as the Disaster Aid USA Zone 30 director, Roasa is currently building a team of volunteers around it. Each trailer contains equipment that may be needed for clean-up and the early stages of repairs, such as chainsaws, wheelbarrows, tarps and first aid kits.

With the help of local businesses, the Grove City Rotary Club has led efforts to ensure the trailer will be stocked. Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Services has also donated storage of the trailer as well.

“We’ve collected the money to get it wrapped and it has the decals on it, but it’s not built out completely yet,” Roasa said. “We have someone donating racks for the inside and we’re soliciting money to buy the tools and the storage units for the inside.”

Roasa, who has been a member of Disaster Aid USA since 2016 and has volunteered on 15 disaster trips, says volunteers aren’t first responders, but are typically on-scene within the first week.

“Rotary is all across the world, so we work with the local Rotarians to find out what their needs are,” he said. “If they need us to cook, we’ll cook. If they need us to chain saw, we’ll chain saw. If it’s cleaning out homes, we’ll help homeowners get re-established.”

Rotary Club member Cheryl Grossman said the efforts to place and stock a trailer in Grove City so that it can more quickly respond to emergencies in Ohio and throughout the United States has been collaborative.

“In our very challenging world that we live where it seems like no one cares, this is an example of people working together to help people who are suffering from these weather disasters that are occurring,” she said.

While the trailer is expected to be road-worthy by the end of July, some of the greatest needs involve physical help.

“We know most people can’t go to Florida or on trips far away,” said Jan Roasa, Dave’s wife who has also served on the volunteer teams responding to disasters. “But one of these days we might have a big flood or tornado in southeast Ohio or again in Xenia. We provide training for volunteers so we’re prepared.”

Volunteers who are part of the teams responding to disasters do not have to be Rotary Club members, Dave Roasa says.

“The goal is to build a team here and be ready if a disaster were to strike so we could do some good in the community right away,” he said.

To volunteer or to donate, contact Roasa at or call 614-397-4278.


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