Volunteer Finds Carney Couple's Wedding License Amongst Rubble After Storms
CARNEY, Oklahoma - A Green Country Church has been helping tornado victims get back on their feet almost every day since the May 20 tornado. Thanks to one of those volunteers, a Carney couple will be able to rebuild on a precious memory, etched on paper.
It was the first day of summer vacation, and high school senior Lauren Keich's dad gave her a choice.
"You can either sleep in or you can get up at five with me and we'll go and help tornado victims," she said. "I have the rest of the summer to sleep in and these people need help now, so I decided to go."
Lauren went to Carney with a group of volunteers from Rhema Bible Church. She says she wasn't prepared for what she would see there.
"It's mind blowing, we drove over a hill and its just--you can't put it into words, because the devastation is crazy," Lauren said.
The locals led Lauren and her team to what was left of one home, which wasn't much.
"There was no walls, just the floor and the bed was in the middle of the room and that was all that had survived," she said.
Lauren started cleaning up in what used to be the bedroom, tossing anything that was ruined into a pile to be burned. But buried in the rubble, she spotted a stack of papers with a handwritten note that somehow survived the storm.
"It was soggy and everything, so I was trying not to rip it. I saw 'Marriage License' on the front of it and I said, 'Oh this is important, we should keep this,'" Lauren said.
She showed the stranger what she'd found, reuniting the woman, who thought she'd lost everything, with a memory worth more than anything.
"It was notebook paper that she had written the story of her and her husband, and how they met and how they fell in love and all that, and it was actually stapled to the back," Lauren said. "She was crying and she hugged me and said, 'Thank you, because I could never get something like this back. This is something that if I could have saved anything, I'm glad this was saved.'"
Lauren said that experience beats sleeping in any day.
She said that couple had actually eloped and ate a candy bar in place of wedding cake. The candy wrapper and the newspaper wedding announcement were also in the stack of papers she found.