PARIS, Texas – A Lamar County couple who lost almost everything they owned due to a tornado were able to recover a very valuable item, one that means love and life to them.
Last week, Dakota Hudson and Lauren Patterson lost the new home they were building when an EF-4 tornado hit Paris, which is about 100 miles northwest of Dallas.
During the storm, they sheltered nearby. They said they hugged each other and prayed in those terrifying moments.
“It sounded like a freight train. It was the most horrible noise you can imagine,” Patterson recalled.
“We just hugged and prayed, just dear Lord, keep us safe, make this quick,” Patterson said. “The house started to lift. You could hear the house creaking as it lifted off the slab.”
The tornado destroyed her home and scattered her belongings throughout the neighborhood.
Fortunately, everyone on his block survived the tornado.
Minutes later, dazed and shocked, Hudson realized that something big, or very small, had been lost.
“That’s when I realized I had just put that ring in the Secret Annex 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 I almost lost it,” she said. remembered.
An engagement ring, for a surprise proposal. It would take a needle on the haystack to find it.
“I was completely lost every time I found out the ring was gone. I never really thought I’d see it again,” Hudson said. “We went through the debris for hours. Her cousin found the top half of the ring box broken. So we started looking in that area.”
In their minds, they dismissed it.
Then on Tuesday, the Paris Junior College softball team randomly paired up with the family to help them salvage what they could.
When they found out what had happened, they jumped into action to help search for the missing ring.
“I guess when you tell 20 girls you’re looking for an engagement ring, they’ll make sure you’re engaged at the end of the day,” Hudson said. “They didn’t give up. They all came out and they were all workhorses. The amount of work they were able to do to help us was phenomenal.”
“He says if we find the ring he’s proposing on the spot. Then they didn’t give up,” Patterson said.
The team managed to find the ring in the mud and debris.
“One of the girls, Kate, found it and brought it to me. I grabbed it, it was covered in mud,” Hudson recalled. “The first thing I could see was a bottle of water to rinse me off and I went over and asked her to marry me.”
At that moment, he fell to one knee.
“Surviving a tornado, what else can I expect,” he joked.
A happy time for them, and the now engaged couple hope they can inspire others.
“This is a little light at the end of the tunnel for us. We still lost everything, just like everyone else, but we’re very fortunate with the way the community has come together to try and help support everyone,” Hudson said. .