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Community reflects on powerful Dexter tornado 10 years later

Posted at 8:30 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 20:30:30-04

DEXTER, Mich. (WXYZ) — Ten years ago Tuesday, an EF3 tornado touched down in the village of Dexter. It rocked a small-town community, but thankfully no one was injured.

You mention the subject of March 15, 2012 to anyone in the village today, and pretty much everyone has a story and perhaps photos of their own.

“It’s part of Dexter lore now," Bob Robke, a Dexter resident, said.

“If I meet somebody new and they ask me where I live, I would tell them I live in the tornado neighborhood," he added with a chuckle.

Robke lived in Huron Farms at the time. The tornado destroyed 13 homes, significantly damaged 105 others and forced many families to spend months in hotels awaiting home repairs. Like Robke, Kim Cassidy said she remembers taking photos before running to take cover.

“Now, it feels like it’s kind of a different lifetime ago," she said.

Cassidy said her family spent four months in a hotel. She's reminded by photos that popped up on her Facebook Memories Tuesday. Cassidy showed 7 Action News photos of a piece of wood that pierced the side of her house and dove into the bed.

“I know that some of the kids, including mine, are a little more nervous when storms occur even to this day," she said.

Some of those kids are now in high school. As part of their latest publication for the tornado's 10th anniversary, Dexter High School student journalists published an image of Wendy Martin's home, which was caught in the storm's path.

Nicholas Sadler was just 8 years old and recalled playing outside before his mom called him in to head to the basement.

“It was traumatic for our family. It could have been a lot worse. It was a lot worse for a lot of people. There were no deaths or anything. So, I tell you, thankful for all that," he said.

Saddler is thankful he's able to tell his little brother, who was just 1 years old at the time, about the tornado the people of Dexter survived.