Ashley Garner rarely removes her wedding band.
Garner, 32, removed her ring and placed it on a chair inside her garage three days before Hurricane Ian pounded Florida’s west coast with catastrophic winds and storm surges. She planned to work out with a punching bag, which she claimed she hadn’t done in years.
Garner, who lives in Fort Myers, discovered her ring was missing the next day. Garner explained that the chair had been moved, and when she went to look for it, she only found two other rings, not her wedding ring.
“Obviously, it’s a symbol that means a lot to me, but it was completely out of my hands,” she explained. “All I could do was look for it, and if I couldn’t find it, that’s all I could do.”
Garner, her husband, and their three children were terrified and searched her front yard outside of the garage.
The family searched for two days as Hurricane Ian made its way from Cuba to Florida.
“The storm is coming, and if we don’t find it now, it’ll be gone, and that’s okay with me,” Garner told herself. “I am not a materialistic person. It is what it is, and I simply let it go and forgot about it.”
Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on Fort Myers Beach, which was one of the hardest hit areas in the storm’s path. A nearly 4m surge of water had flooded the community. Garner said her family went outside to clean up their front yard after the storm passed.
When she saw her neighbourhood was devastated by Hurricane Ian, Garner told Insider that her missing wedding ring was the last thing on her mind.
“With the devastation, and I mean, walking out of our front garage, there were literally tree branches everywhere. You were unable to walk. Trees were growing on cars and roofs “Garner stated.
While the full extent of Hurricane Ian’s destruction is still being assessed, losses are expected to range between $28 billion and $47 billion, making it Florida’s most expensive storm since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, according to CoreLogic, a storm damage research firm.
Garner said her husband made a shocking discovery ten minutes into cleaning up debris.
Her misplaced wedding ring was discovered in the brush near their driveway. Garner’s husband gave the ring to their eldest son, who was cleaning up tree branches by the curb at the time.
“I wasn’t convinced. He gave it to me. I screamed and then sat down “She stated.