A small miracle took place amid the devastation in the aftermath of Arizona’s wildfire, a lost wedding ring was recovered.
The fire, one of the deadliest in US history, claimed the lives of an elite group of firefighters, when their unit was overcome and 19 members were killed leaving only one survivor.
Larry and Patti McCracken have been married for 50 years. Patti lost the ring in the rubble of their home, but has now recovered it thanks to one of her daughters who spotted it under a foot of charred rubble in which used to be their dream retirement home in the small town of Yarnell.
The McCrackens were allowed to return home on Monday, but had little hope of finding their home standing. They are also grieving the loss of the 19 young men who were killed trying to defend their homes along with the rest of the community.
When tragedy struck they were on vacation and Patti’s wedding ring was left at the mercy of the Arizona wildfire. They had no time to grab any of their belongings, including the ring.
Patti says she didn’t wear the ring any longer because it did not fit.
One of the couple’s daughters set to find it against all odds, spending countless hours digging through the rubble and had almost given up hope.
“Then I stuck my hand in the dirt and rolled over this big rock and there it was, plain as day,” Hansom, 36, who lives in a Phoenix suburb, said in a telephone interview Friday.
Her parents had been out getting lunch for everyone when she found it, she pulled her dad aside and gave him the good news and insisted he be the one to give it to his high school sweetheart.
Larry decided to get down on one knee and pop the question for the second time in his life in front of the entire family.
“We hugged and we kissed and I said, ‘Yes,’ and I haven’t taken it ring off since,” said Patti, who now wears the wedding ring on her pinkie finger. “It was just such a profound moment.”
A ray of sunshine in the devastation left by the Arizona fire.
[Image via Bethany Hanson]