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SAI Offender Work Crew Helps with Dexter Tornado Clean Up
On March 15, 2012, a tornado (measured as an F3 or moderately strong) ripped through the northern part of the village of Dexter then continued east, destroying or damaging about 400 homes in a newer subdivision just east of town. At least two homes were completely destroyed and several more were damaged beyond repair and were torn down. By the next Monday morning, blue tarps covered hundreds of roof tops throughout the small valley of homes, local law enforcement limited access to the area and hundreds of people descended on the area ready to help.
Some of the people who showed up ready to work Monday morning were motivated offender work crews from the Special Alternative Incarceration (SAI) program in neighboring Chelsea. Over the next five days, about 20 SAI offenders, supervised by corporals from the facility, spent the days cleaning up debris, chipping branches and brush, and raking up broken glass, splintered 2x4s, chunks of drywall and wisps of insulation. They picked articles of clothing and aluminum sheeting out of tree branches and cleaned community parks, streets and neighborhood back yards so that people in the town could start feeling "normal' again.
Along side the SAI crews were other cleanup crews, insurance adjusters, catastrophe and disaster preparedness teams, construction restoration companies, Dexter village workers, citizens and law enforcement - all working together to accomplish one mission: stabilize the community and make life more palatable.
While cleaning up brush and fallen trees on Monday afternoon, one contractor commented on the work ethic of the SAI crew members, saying he would hire them in a minute and that they were hard workers who got the job done. It was a nice compliment that meant a lot to the crew members, giving them hope that they have value, that they can change their lives and find employment when they complete the program.
The Department is thankful to the village of Dexter for enlisting the assistance of the SAI work crews. This collaborative effort helped out the people of Dexter and gave the work crews a sense of value and purpose. It is a great example of Governor Snyder's "Relentless Positive Action" and another reminder that with the proper motivation, the offenders in this program can make a positive difference in the lives of others.