YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio Army National Guard is teaming up with Youngstown to tear down vacant homes. It’ll support the South Side Blight Removal and Greening project.
Now, tearing down vacant houses in Youngstown isn’t anything new. But the men and women doing the work are the interesting part of the demolition.
“It hits me on a personal level,” Thomas Pepe of the Ohio Army National Guard said.
Pepe is part of the Ohio Army National Guard in Ravenna. He grew up in Mineral Ridge and has seen the changes in Youngstown.
“I have always wanted to do something for this city to make it better, because this is our little slice of the pie, as you could say,” Pepe said. “It feels real good to partner up with Youngstown and make a positive impact.”
That’s exactly what he’s doing along with other members of the Ohio Army National Guard.
“We can’t wait to get out to get out and do a community outreach event like this because there’s a positive,” Lt. Mike Huggins of Ohio National Guard 1192nd Engineer Company said. “It’s positive for the community to see us out here and it’s great training for our soldiers.”
“I’m proud of the National Guard stepping in and doing their thing,” said Stacey Moore of Youngstown. “It’s good to see that somebody is taking pride in the city.”
“I’m glad that we get to be here and see the people,” Pepe said. “We do meet the nice people that we meet because there are nice people out there. And, if anything, I feel like we’re doing it for them and the city of Youngstown.”
The National Guard fills up its trucks. And when the truck is too full, another one is lined up and ready to go.
Ohio Army National Guard members are going to be in Youngstown through the end next week helping the city with as many demo projects as it can.
“Anytime the community wants us to help them out, we’re here because we are actually a part of this community,” Huggins said.