'What can we do?' Strangers show up to help Alto dairy farmer move 700 cattle after confirmed tornado

FOND DU LAC COUNTY -- The National Weather Service confirmed there was a tornado about four miles north-northwest of Waupun -- near Alto and Brandon in Fond du Lac County -- one of three counties that saw tornado warnings Tuesday, Aug. 28.

The preliminary rating from the NWS on this tornado is an EF1 rating on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. That means the storm packed winds between 73 and 112 miles-per-hour.

Most said the Wetzel Farm in Alto was hardest hit by the storms -- but this isn't only a story of destruction. It's also one of dedication.

"I saw the trees start circling in front of my house, so I thought it was time to go into the basement, and I could hear the rush of the wind for quite some time," said Dick Wetzel.

Dick Wetzel

Wetzel has owned the dairy farm since 1970.

"We're going to rebuild. I don't think there's a question about that," said Wetzel.

Six buildings were damaged or destroyed. Barns sheltering 700 head of cattle were torn apart. Those who own nine other dairy farms in the area moved the cattle to house them until the Wetzels can rebuild.

"It's our life," said Wetzel.

And thankfully, they've seen a lot of support.

"We've had people that took off from work to come and help us. A lot of them. Some are farmers. Not all farmers. Thank you -- from the bottom of my heart. It's devastating," said Wetzel.

"My daughter's dance team from the high school is here. Some of the cross country members are on their way. We've had the Waupun FFA here. They brought food to feed everyone and drinks this morning, and most of these people we never seen before or met. They just showed up and 'where can we help? What can we do?'" said Michelle Wetzel.

'"So far, this is the most significant damage we've seen and I believe the most significant damage we've heard of with this. Significant structural damage. Barns destroyed," said Andy Boxell, National Weather Service.

This was one of three confirmed tornadoes Tuesday. The others hit in the Town of Wilson in Sheboygan County and Brownsville in Dodge County.