CUSHING, Texas (KETK) – A little over a year ago, seven different tornadoes moved through East Texas, including four separate EF2 storms. One of them touched down in Nacogdoches County, leaving structures as piles of wreckage in its wake.

Cushing resident Robert Baker was injured on March 21, 2022, when a strong tornado in Cushing ripped through his home.

“I never expected to live in this house again,” Baker said.

Baker said that even now, it’s hard to believe he made it out of the wreckage alive.

“I still got the pictures I look at from time to time, you know, not believing actually I am still alive,” said Baker.

He was sleeping when he heard something hit the side of the house. As he was trying to open the front door, a tree fell through the living room and pinned him to the ground. He survived the experience with an injured ankle and a broken jaw.

“That finally healed up,” Baker said. “As far as teeth you know, I’ll just have to do without them.”

All that’s left of the tree that once stood tall in his front yard is a knobby tree trunk as a reminder.

“I’m thinking about planting a tree there, but it’s going to be a little one,” said Baker.

Baker said he just knew he was going to lose his grandmother’s house because he didn’t have insurance. What he didn’t realize at the time was that his community was not going to let that happen. Through a series of donations, he received enough money to rebuild.

“I didn’t expect it, it’s not something that I actually thought would happen, they offered, I didn’t ask,” Baker said. “I didn’t have to ask, they offered me help.”

Now, a year later, he is back in his home and he says he is finally smiling again.

A photo of Baker’s home after tornado damage next to a photo of his rebuilt home.

“I’m great, I’m doing really well,” Baker said. “The house isn’t finished. I’ve still got work to do on it, but I’m back in it, so I’m a happy man.”

Baker adds he made sure to get insurance this time.