Fundraiser set up for Hortonville family impacted by tornado in Kentucky

The family's rig was destroyed by a tornado over the weekend.
The family's rig was destroyed by a tornado over the weekend.(wbay)
Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 6:09 PM CST
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HORTONVILLE, Wis. (WBAY) - Even though the tornadoes landed miles away from Wisconsin, the tragedy still hits home here.

Maranda Warbelton’s fiancé, Jordan LeMarche, and 9-year-old son, Bentley, could have lost their lives spending the night in Kentucky.

LeMarche was hauling horses in Kentucky with his personal rig. Bentley wanted to join him.

“It was supposed to be a really simple, quick and easy four-day trip,” said Warbelton.

The were spending the night at the farm inside the rig where they made their final delivery last Friday night. At around 10 p.m., LeMarche called Warbelton to tell her a storm was rolling in and that he would stay up to watch the radar until it was over. However, she ended up receiving a voicemail at around 1 a.m. Saturday.

“It was him screaming to Bentley and a bunch of wind and just cutting out, and I didn’t know what was going on and then within two minutes, I got another phone call from Jordan saying everything’s gone. ‘A tornado just hit us and we flew out of the trailer.’” said Warbelton. ”My heart instantly dropped, and I really didn’t know what was going on for a couple hours.”

LeMarche told Warbelton they rolled three or four times in the trailer that weighed 30,000 lbs. before being ejected and injured.

She said LeMarche has four compression fractures in his back, and his foot could also be fractured. He is still having trouble walking. Bentley got a cut on his forehead and needed 14 stitches. He also had several bruises on his body, but no broken bones. None of the horses survived, and the property on the farm was also damaged.

Warbelton drove to Kentucky from Hortonville and was helping clean up the mess Monday.

“It’s gut wrenching. It just makes you sick to your stomach to see you know... just in seconds it was ripped apart like it was nothing. It’s hard. It’s really hard,” said Warbelton.

The hospitals bills are thousands of dollars and LeMarche is expected to be out of work for at least three months while he recovers. The rig was his own and cost about $170,000, according to Warbelton.

Warbelton said she also works at rodeos, and most of her equipment was in the trailer and now gone.

“Everything that we had--it’s all over in fields right now,” she said.

A GoFundMe page is set up for donations to help cover the hospital costs.

Warbelton said people from Kentucky have been kind and helpful.

“The amount of kindness and support that people have showed, we are forever grateful for,” she said.

It will take time for the family to pick up the pieces, but Warbelton is just happy they’re alive.

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