Aside: Dexter, MI cleanup

I’m going to make a rare departure from Sterling Heights topics to promote something I found very rewarding and worthwhile: helping fellow Michiganders recover from a devastating tornado strike.

As you may recall, the small town of Dexter, MI — just northwest of Ann Arbor — suffered a tornado strike on March 15, 2012.  Fortunately, nobody was killed by the severe weather, but there was a significant amount of damage.  Thousands of trees were felled and dozens of homes were damaged, some completely destroyed.

Homeowner insurance policies do not cover tornado damage to the property surrounding the insured dwelling.  If the house or garage are spared, everything else is up to the homeowner to deal with at their own expense.  Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, the volunteers stopped coming when the news stories stopped running.

This past Saturday, April 21, my family and I participated in the clean-up effort through a group we were introduced to via connections from my daughter’s middle school. The group’s name is Hands of Light in Action, and their website is

The devastation, even one month later, is enormous.  The gentleman whose property we worked at is elderly, and lives in a small home on a formerly heavily wooded lot with his wife and their dog.  The estimates he received from contractors to have all of the fallen trees cleared amounted to $80,000, which was well beyond his means.  Although much work has been done, still more remains, and his is only one property out of literally dozens in need of the same sort of help.

Volunteers are still needed to help the people of Dexter recover from this devastating incident.  As we all know, the City of Sterling Heights is not immune to tornadoes, and someday it might be our time to turn to others for help in a time of need.  The local governmental body (a township) has ceased all relief activity due to the same budgetary problems the entire state is facing, so the only way this will get done is by the efforts of the homeowners and volunteers.

If you, your church or civic group are interested in spending a day helping people like yourselves recover from a true natural disaster just an hour’s drive away from Sterling Heights, I strongly encourage you to contact the President of Hands of Light, Nancy Malone, either via her website or by telephone at (734)-788-9230.


Posted on April 23, 2012, in Issues and views. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thank you so much for everything! Your volunteers were an answer to a prayer. Here I thought I needed a football team BUT instead, I just needed a group of energetic kids and adults with big hearts and a will to “assist people in need” from Sterling Heights! I won’t soon forget all you guys did. For 1 day and for 1 homeowner–you changed his world… Thank you!
    Nancy Malone
    Hands of Light in Action

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