Chetek Greenhouse Lucky to Avoid Tornado

Destroyed Trailer Park, Turkey Farm was About a Mile Away

CHETEK, Wis. – While Tuesday’s tornado near Chetek left destruction and devastation in its path, less than a mile away a nearby business remained virtually untouched and the owner is counting his blessings.

Jim Berger owns Treefrogs Greenhouse just outside Chetek.  He had just closed and was on his way home, when Tuesday’s storm hit.  He waited it out in a nearby church parking lot, and when the storm passed , Berger expected the worst.

“About a mile north of me is the turkey barn which was gone,” said Berger.  “I thought I don’t even have a greenhouse anymore.”

Instead Berger found his greenhouse with minimal damage.

“I had a couple doors blown off,” said Berger.  “And a bunch of plants were tipped over outside, I can clean that up.  Thank god everything is protected and standing and we’re still in business today.  I’m just the luckiest man in the world right now.”

Berger knows some of his neighbors weren’t nearly as lucky.

“There’s lots of folks around the area that are really hurting,” he said.

When disaster strikes, communities often come together, and Berger was moved by the way another local business stepped in to help.

“Sandwiches have been flying out of Subway for all the people up here,” said Berger.  “I went to grab a sandwich for lunch, they’ve been going with platters full they said.”

By all accounts, business at the Chetek Subway was non-stop Wednesday.

“It’s been very busy, very hectic,” said Subway employee Leah Theesfeld.

For Theessfled, the storm also hit close to home, even if it didn’t hit her home.

“My husband is on the New Auburn Fired Department and he’s out there,” said Theesfeld.  “They’re out there doing their stuff, they were out there last night.”

For the Subway crew and others in Chetek, it was about doing whatever they could.

“Even people who don’t know anyone affected, they’re still pitching in and doing what they can to help out,” said Theesfeld.