TOWN OF JOHNSON (WAOW) -- A Marathon County man is in critical condition after beef cows trampled him into the mud Friday morning.
When a calf faces danger, its protective parents usually come to the rescue. So when a nearby neighbor stepped in to help get a calf out of the mud Friday morning, the adult cattle weren't too happy.
"For some reason, walked out to see what the problem was and I saw the calf that was stuck in the mud," said Mengel Kruger. "And then I saw something gray."
Kruger jumped the farmyard fence. At first he couldn't even tell what, or who, was buried in the mud.
"And then I got ahold of his jacket and found out it was Norbie," said Kruger. "And they had stomped him pretty good in the mud."
It was his good friend and neighbor of more than 20 years -- 70-year-old Norbert Hoffmann or Norbie, as he calls him.
"So I had the bull on one side and the white-faced cow on the other," said Kruger. "I was trying to protect Norbie and get him out of there and it wasn't fun but we made it."
It was a true act of heroism. Kruger pulled his friend to safety and called 911.
"It was pretty gutsy for him to go in when the animals were so aggressive but he was able to do so and was able to pull the man out," said Marathon County Sheriff's Department Lieutenant Dale Wisnewski. "I think he probably should get recognized for saving the guy's life."
A medical helicopter airlifted Norbie to Marshfield with injuries on his face, chest and stomach. But Kruger said despite his pain, Norbie's thoughts turned to the young animal.
"The only thing he said was, we have to get the calf. And that was all he said. He was still worried about that calf in the mud," said Kruger. "Things happen and hopefully we get him back."
As of Friday afternoon, Norbie is in critical condition at Ministry St. Joseph's Trauma Center in Marshfield.