A glimmer of hope and a sparkle of an engagement ring have brought some peace to a couple who lost their home in a recent tornado.
Dakota Hudson and Lauren Patterson told KXAS they could feel their house lifting and cracking during the tornado that touched down in Lamar County, Texas, last week.
The tornado registered as an EF-4, KDFW reported.
When Hudson and Patterson came out of hiding from the storm, their house, along with those of a family member next door and several other neighborhood homes, were gone.
Despite a neighborhood full of destruction, no one was hurt.
But one thing was missing — Hudson’s engagement ring, which he had recently bought to give to Patterson as part of a surprise proposal.
“That’s when I realized I had just put that ring in the back house to hide it and I didn’t know how I was going to tell her, but I had to so I just came and told her and about lost it,” he told KDFW.
Everyone started looking and Patterson’s cousin found the top of the ring box but that was it, KDFW reported.
The Paris Junior College softball team helped the community with the cleanup. When they heard about the missing ring, they started searching.
Outfielder Kate Rainey told KXAS, “I basically made my mind up. I was going to find the ring.”
It took hours, but Rainey was right — she found the ring buried in the mud.
“I guess when you tell 20 girls that you’re looking for an engagement ring they’re going to make sure you’re engaged by the end of the day,” Hudson told KDFW. “They did not let up. They all came out there and they were all workhorses. The amount of work they were able to put in to help us out was phenomenal.”
The ring was found about 7 yards from where the closet stood — out of the box and in about 2 inches of dirt and mud, KXII reported. The wedding band that Hudson had bought and kept with the ring was found another 3 feet away.
Hudson didn’t waste a moment and dropped to his knee, offering Patterson the ring, which Patterson immediately accepted, saying yes.
“This was the light in a very dark moment. And it is still a dark moment, but this has given us reason to breathe and smile a little,” Patterson told KXAS.
Hudson and Patterson have been together for seven years. She told him it was about time he proposed, KXII reported.
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