Wedding Dress Returned to Tornado Victim

POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Okla. - Surprises are still being found in the rubble from tornadoes that hit Oklahoma in May.  One family experienced a shock when a piece of their past was found and returned.

The Hoke family hid from the fury of the May 19 tornado in a storm shelter.

"I was under my blanket and I was really sad," says J.W. Hoke. "I though my mom was getting hurt."

The twister destroyed their home and took the life of their family dog Buck, who they later buried and marked his grave with wooden crosses.

"I used to always love playing with him," says J.W. "I miss him a lot."

In the middle of all this loss, they found hope in an unexpected place.

"Some lady came up to me carrying this big white ball of mess," says Michelle Hoke. "She's like 'look what I found!' Do you know who's it is? And I picked it up and look and the front and I was like 'I think this is mine.' I flipped it around and I noticed the backing. I was like 'this is my wedding dress!'"

A little dirty and with a few rips, but otherwise in great shape, the couple snapped a picture, beaming with joy despite the destruction.

Michelle says finding her wedding dress is symbolic of the power of true love and just how much you can overcome with the right person by your side.

"It's put us to a test, but it has made us a lot stronger," says Michelle. "Not just me and my husband, but as a family and a community out here."

Michelle wore the dress when she started a new life and now she says she will keep it close as she rebuilds another.

"I've been so protective of it since I got it back home, with the beadwork on it," says Michelle. "My husband actually picked it out."

The Hokes just renewed their wedding vows last year and Michelle says that makes finding her wedding dress even more special.

The couple will celebrate their eleven year wedding anniversary in August.

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