Healing begins for Chetek man after tornado

Healing begins for Chetek man after tornado

ST. PAUL - The survival stories continue to emerge from this week’s storm in Barron County, Wisconsin. They include Doug and Cindy Rutledge.

Doug remains in the hospital with serious injuries after a freezer fell on top of him when his home was destroyed by the tornado. His wife was also injured but is out of the hospital.

Her husband's upper body is in a cast. He’s recovering at Regions Hospital after being airlifted there from Wisconsin.

He said he remembers the windows being blown out and the house shaking. Then the walls started caving on top of them.

“It was excruciating for a couple minutes,” he recalled after the freezer fell on his legs and upper body.

The next thing he remembers is first responders pulling him and his wife out from the rubble. But even the pain to his body won’t compare to the pain to his heart.

What will he remember the most?

“The cries of my 13-year-old granddaughter,” he said.

She was also in the home with them but was not injured. She later attracted national headlines after finding their pet rabbit in the debris.

They also found Doug's old Navy uniform and Cindy's wedding dress, but not much else. And despite losing everything and unsure where they’ll go next, they are grateful.

"I can’t think of anyone I’d rather go through it, though than my wife,” Doug said. "She’s my hero and I’m hers.”

Doug will remain in the hospital at least until next week after he had surgery on his arm. His physician, Dr. Michael McGonigal says he’ll be in a cast for three months and will most likely be recovering in a rehab facility after leaving the hospital.

The family set up a GoFundMe account to help with expenses.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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