Home News OhioHealth Hero: Safety Consultant Puts Community First After Devastating Tornadoes

OhioHealth Hero: Safety Consultant Puts Community First After Devastating Tornadoes


While many Ohio communities are still grappling with the aftermath of last week’s deadly tornadoes, one OhioHealth employee is going above and beyond to help those in need.

Benji Avila, a safety consultant for OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital and OhioHealth Van Wert Hospital, witnessed the storm’s destructive power firsthand. A resident of Lakeview, one of the hardest-hit areas in Logan County, Benji found himself facing personal damage while his community reeled from the disaster.

However, for Benji, ensuring the safety of others is a calling that transcends his professional role at OhioHealth. When he’s not working to keep patients and staff safe at the hospitals, Benji serves his community as a part-time firefighter for the Lakeview Fire Department.

On the night of Thursday, March 14th, when the tornadoes struck, Benji was among the first responders who bravely rushed out to lead search and rescue efforts.

“Despite facing personal damages from the storm himself, Benji selflessly put aside his own needs to help his neighbors,” said Michelle Wright, OhioHealth system manager for environment of care & safety. “We are incredibly proud to have Benji as a co-worker and friend. He exemplifies the values we hold dear at OhioHealth.”

“Benji is an extraordinary individual, and we are fortunate to have him as part of the OhioHealth family,” echoed Joe Powell, OhioHealth system manager, environment of care & life safety.

The National Weather Service reported eight tornadoes touching down across Ohio on March 14th, tragically resulting in three fatalities. The NWS confirmed that the Lakeview tornado was an EF3, signifying a strong and destructive storm.

In the wake of the disaster, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency on Sunday, March 17th, for eleven counties impacted by the tornadoes, including Logan, Richland, and Union counties.

Benji’s story serves as a heartwarming reminder of the strength and compassion that emerge in the face of tragedy. While he deals with his own recovery, his dedication to his community exemplifies the very best of humanity.