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WALDO CANYON FIRE: Ring's recovery from rubble a symbol of hope

By: ELISE REUTER
July 14, 2012
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photo - Karla Price's wedding ring and this dish were found in the rubble of their Mountain Shadows home. Photo by Photo courtesy of the family
Karla Price's wedding ring and this dish were found in the rubble of their Mountain Shadows home. Photo by Photo courtesy of the family 

Steve and Karla Price learned of the sudden evacuation from their Mountain Shadows home as a neighbor pounded on their front door. A mere 15 minutes later, the couple frantically snatched photos off of the walls and drove away.

They didn’t remember that Karla’s wedding ring was sitting on the counter.

Realization hit that evening, after the couple had reached safety at a friend’s house.

“While we were watching the news, I looked down at my hand and realized it wasn’t there. Talk about emotion,” Karla said. “My husband designed the ring.”

Days later, the couple searched for the ring through the rubble of their home. Firefighters reported the temperature of the fire was close to 2000 degrees, hot enough to bend steel and reduce possessions to ash and carbon.

A close friend helped the couple search for the missing ring, sifting through the ash for more than 14 hours before he discovered it on a Sunday morning. The diamond was intact, though the setting was damaged. It was found next to a plate belonging to Steve that reads: “ability takes you to the top, character keeps you there.”

Many tears followed. Even the jeweler cried when Karla brought it in to be recast.

“My ring is something tangible, but I think the intangible is what’s most important. It’s the hope that it brings,” Karla said.

Steve and Karla are staying at a friend’s apartment, and are planning to move into their own apartment at the end of the month.

Like many other families in the area, the couple is deciding whether or not to rebuild in the same location.

In the meantime, friends and the community have helped them with furnishing their apartment and purchasing new clothes.

“We all know we’re neighbors and we’re going to continue doing what we do, and we’re all doing it together,” Karla said. “It’s who we are as a community, moving together from the ash with an unbreakable strength, like my diamond.”

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