Governor Scott Walker toured tornado-damaged areas in New London Thursday morning, Aug. 8.
Walker spent much of his time in the city outside the remains of Trinity Lutheran Church.
The church, located at 709 W. Beckert Road, was destroyed by the tornado at around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“Fortunately, there were no serious injuries in this area,” Walker said. “We can thank God for that.”
Walker commended the city and county for their emergency management efforts.
“We will keep checking in, but it is good to be able to see the situation firsthand,” he said.
Walker toured Hortonville on his way to New London, and said the damage was quite significant.
“”Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone who has been affected by these tornadoes,” Walker said. “It looked like a giant weed wacker went through the area. Early reports said there were winds blowing at over 100 miles per hour.”
Walker thanked local first responders, the Red Cross, and other volunteers who have come in to provide disaster relief.
“That really makes me proud to be in Wisconsin when I see people helping others,” he said.
Walker said the state is actively engaged with the county and city in regards to cleanup efforts.
“We want to provide the greatest level of assistance possible,” said Walker. “We hope to be able to help speed up the debris removal process, and we’re working to make sure insurance claims adjusters are on hand over the next several days. One of our first priorities is to help make sure right-of-ways are clear, while working to ensure that power can be restored as soon as possible – that’s vitally important.”
Walker said municipalities and residents should do their best to document the damage that has been done by taking pictures of areas that have been damaged. Once local entities have assessed the damage, an initial request for aid can be sent to the state.
Walker said the National Guard may be sent in to assist. He said the state has many options to consider before making that decision.
“I get continuous updates on what’s been happening here, but I thought it was important to be here today to show our support. We are sending up prayers for everyone involved, because we understand that there is a lot of emotional trauma involved in this situation.
“The stress of going through an event like this is quite significant,” said Walker, when asked for a scalar measure of the damage. “I try not to put a number to it, because if it’s your house, church, or building, it’s major to you. It’s hard to measure the emotional toll.
Members of Trinity will gather in front of their church for a service of prayer, songs and scripture readings at 6:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday). They recommend bringing lawn chairs.