Montgomery County neighbors help farmer

March 13, 2017 08:39 PM

FLORIDA -- Joe Cavuoto lives near the Mattas Family Farm.

"And my wife said, 'Did you see what happened across the street?'  And I said, 'No, what happened?'" he recalled.

This is what Cavuoto saw-- a new barn destroyed by fierce winds earlier this month.

He rushed over to see what he could do.

The barn was being built by Amish crews at the Mattas Family Farm in the town of Florida.  It was to store hay and crops, and Mark Mattas sunk a lot of time and money-- his savings-- into the project.

We found Mark at the farm trying to salvage what he could.  He described a terrible burst of wind.

"It was early in the morning and it just picked everything up and it made it like a kite and flew away and here's what we have. I could not believe it when I drove up the road and saw it.  I was devastated," said Mattas.

There's still a lot of heavy, expensive machinery trapped under the debris.

He says the materials alone cost about $40,000.
Mattas' neighbors, the Cavuotos, offered to help in any way they can, setting up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for a new barn.

"You wake up, they're out in the field, they're working. You go to sleep, they're out in the field, working," said Cavuoto.  "You talk to them, they're the most loving, caring people you've ever met. They'd give you the shirt off their back.  And you see awful things happen to these people and you think to yourself, we don't live in that kind of world.  Anything we can do to help them, I'm going to do."

Mark Mattas says he farms because he loves it, and he's just happy no one got hurt.

He grows corn, and hay to sell; he raises animals and boards heifers for dairy farmers.

Mattas didn't know about the fundraising.  When we showed him what the Go Fund Me page said, he was moved to tears.  He had no idea his neighbors were raising money to help.

"Unbelievable.  I didn't think anybody would do something like that," said Mattas.

He is also grateful that his four-year-old son is okay, because the little boy had just been playing in the barn before the strong winds came and it collapsed.

If you'd like to help the small family farm, here's the link:

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Kumi Tucker

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