Karrie Leever

It has been a year since the killer tornado tore through Northern Ottawa County, uprooting trees, homes and lives.

Life-long Picher resident Doris Smith had lived there for more than 52 years when her trailer was literally blown away along with a shed she had in the back yard.

Smith lived with her two sons, Tom and Jon Smith and one granddaughter, Sydnee Violette, who was five at the time.

“My daddy had just bought me a new bike and when the tornado hit, it slammed it right into my grandmas car and that made me very sad,” said Sydnee.

“We got out of the tornado by the skin of our teeth” was the words that Doris Smith said after surviving the violent tornado.

“I had no idea the storm was going to be as violent as it was,” said Smith.

Minutes before the storm hit Smith was inside sitting in her favorite chair while her son Jon was outside on the porch watching the clouds roll in and suggested seeking shelter after the sirens went off.

“I wasn’t going to get out of my chair and run from anything,” said Smith. “Then before I knew it, my son grabbed my hand and we were running to the truck and headed for safety. Thank god my granddaughter was not here at the that time.”

After returning to what used to be a home where Smith and her family resided, they were in total devastation.

“We all just felt lost.,” said Smith. “Shock set in as soon as we saw the total destruction, not only to us but others in the community. It absolutely took our breath away.”

There was no house or even remains of what used to be a house.

“There was not one single piece left,” said Smith.

Since the tornado Smith resides in Commerce and says that her home there isn’t home for her.

“I have lived in Picher 53 years and this doesn’t seem like home over here,” said Smtih. “This has really impacted me and my family’s lives. I have been washed out, burned out and now blown out, but somehow I have always been able to pick up the pieces and move forward and overcome several disasters throughout my life.”