Mother and daughter reunited with lost wedding dress after tornado


EAST MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) –  Dozens of people in the Quad Cities area are still taking stock of what was damaged or lost in the powerful storms on March 15, 2016. One family says they’ve come across miracles each day since, including the return of a treasured heirloom believed to be long gone. The family also has generations of memories to hold onto.

The home in rural East Moline has been in the family for five generations.

“I was born in that front room in the corner and my dad was born in this home, his dad, and his dad,” said Donna Morford.

Now, it’s almost unrecognizable after an EF-2 tornado went through the area. Morford was not home at the time but returned from work to find the top of the house gone and her belongings everywhere. Among the items in the attic was Morford’s wedding dress from 1958. Her daughter Jill also wore it when she married in 1987.

“It was just so personal because it was ours, we wore it, it was a bond that we had. Then we thought it was gone,” said Jill Stawicki.

But that wouldn’t be the case for the white gown. As the family began sifting through the debris, across the river in Le Claire the police department was searching for the owner of a dress found on a hillside. It had been picked up by the tornado, carried over the Mississippi River, and dropped two miles away unharmed.

“I don’t know how that happens, I don’t know how it gets that far,” added Stawicki, “They gave it back. It’s just incredible.”

In nearly a week since the storm, volunteers have helped reunite them with other special keepsakes like the family Bible, pictures, and different angel collectibles. While they still lost a lot, the family is thanking a higher power that it was just material things.

“I mean this was devastating but we are all alive,” said Stawicki.

They’re able to cherish some of the irreplaceable treasures like the wedding gown and plenty of memories that can also be passed down.

“I can still look out and I’m still here to see it. That’s the blessing of it all,” said Morford.

The family did take a break from the clean-up process over the weekend. They celebrated as Donna’s granddaughter walked down the aisle in her wedding.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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