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Picking up the pieces

High winds on Monday morning knocked down several trees around Michael Perkey’s home on Township Road 296 in Deering. One tree split Perkey’s shed in half.

DEERING — Michael Perkey was inside his Deering home Monday morning when he heard the horrible cracking sound.

“It sounded like a tornado,” he said. “That tree popped … You wouldn’t believe the cracking sound. The next thing I knew, it was through the roof.”

Two large trees were uprooted across the street from his home on Township Road 296 and toppled from the hill, over the street and on to his roof. They came through the house and destroyed his living room and bathroom.

Behind the home, an extremely tall pine tree cracked at its base and fell away from his home. It is now leaning against some other trees with power lines beneath it.

Another tree fell beside his home, splitting his outdoor shed nearly in half. His son, Michael Jr., and daughter-in-law, Melissa, who live in the house in front of the shed, also suffered damages from the storm. Melissa’s SUV still was in front of the house, when another tree toppled down, crushing the hood, blowing out the back window and rendering it undrivable. The impact was so strong that it caused a storm door window to shatter as well.

The Perkeys spent much of the morning and early afternoon hauling away fallen limbs and pieces of tree trunks that the Perry Township Fire Department cut up.

The area across the street from their home now looks like a lumberyard.

Perkey, 61 and a welder for McGinnis, said he was just glad no one was injured, noting that there were children in his son’s home and his other neighbor’s home. His wife Anita was already at work at FoodFair when the trees came down in a domino-like pattern.

“I can live with the fact I’ve got a hole in my roof, but I couldn’t live with the fact that something happened to a kid,” he said.

Melissa said she felt lucky to be alive as well, thanks to her 3-pound Chihuahua, Katie.

“I stay outside with her until she pees. She just kept jerking me towards the front door. It was just seconds,” Melissa said, of the moments before her SUV was crushed. “I probably would have been dead because I was standing about where that tree’s at,” she said pointing.

Even though the home and shed he had built from the ground up suffered major damage, Perkey said he was still trying to be positive. The house was not insured, he said.

“The only thing you can do is keep a positive attitude and go on, you know. You can’t let all this get you down. If you do, you’re just hurting your own self,” he said. “I’m not going to let stuff like this make me nervous. All that causes you to have is ulcers and heart attacks, and I ain’t letting either one get me.”

The Perkeys said they contacted the Red Cross, but were denied assistance for temporary housing.

“I told my wife, ‘That’s fine, I’ll stay in my own home. I got a tarp.’”