The destruction throughout the town was even worse than he expected. "It was unrecognizable," he said. "I mean, this was wiped clean, foundations knocked off their, their base -- cars flipped, people -- not knowing what was left from right. I was scared to death."
Chief deputy Wolthoff, who immediately starting searching for survivors in the storm's aftermath, had a similar response to the wreckage.
"It felt like I was in a landfill," he said. "Everything was just destroyed. … My main concern at that point was the loss of life. You didn't know what was what. … It was just heart-wrenching."
Wolthoff credits the low fatality rate to a number of factors: the holiday weekend meant many people were out of town and the tight-knit community responded quickly to the tornado sirens.
Ultimately, though, he thinks it was a miracle. "The good Lord was on our side," he said.