LOUISVILLE, Colo. (KDVR) — Only months before their long-anticipated wedding, Michael Parks and Kim Reiss were certain their rings were gone.
The couple lives with Parks’s mother and had just seconds to grab their dog and get out as flames from the devastating Marshall Fire closed in.
“I basically just grabbed the photo albums, threw them in the car, and drove,” Parks said. The couple returned the next day to find their entire neighborhood leveled, smoke still rising from the home.
“I just fell to my knees,” Reiss said. “It was pretty surreal.”
Inside the home, along with everything else they owned, were their wedding rings, which had been sitting on a bedside table in preparation for the big day.
“We figured everything was gone,” Reiss said, “until we got some shovels, got a hazmat suit, came down here, and dug for the rings.” Using a sifter left at their property by a humanitarian group, they started filling up buckets of ash and soot, sifting through the remains with an old grill grate.
“It was eerie how close everything was to its old position,” Parks said. “Everything just kind of fell down where it was, so we had an idea where to dig for the wedding band. We dug up six buckets and on that sixth one, we finally found it,” he said.
Reiss said she will never forget that moment, a bright spot in a week filled with unimaginable loss.
“It was pretty crazy. We were hugging, and just so excited,” she said. The couple plans on having the rings professionally cleaned before exchanging them on their wedding day, May 28. A fundraiser has been set up to help the family.
“When you lose everything, having those few little things that you can really hold on to — because you’re just rebuilding from nothing — so having those few things, is just amazing,” Parks said. “Hopefully, 30, 40 years from now, we can go OK, this was the start, and we rebuilt our lives together from here.”