When Tiffany Paluska married her husband Scott in August of 2013, they settled into a house on 1202 Hampton Road. Paulska had no way of knowing that less than three months later she would see her wedding dress for the last time.
In November of the same year, a tornado ripped through Washington, IL, earlier than the warnings had predicted. Paluska and her husband grabbed their pets and took shelter in the basement, and when they emerged, they realized their house, and the streets surrounding them, had been destroyed.
While clearing the wreckage, Paluska noticed her wedding dress was missing. The safety of her husband and their animals was most important, but she mourned the loss of such a sentimental item.
As fate would have it, just down the block at 1205 Hampton Road, Karlie Diveley noticed a wedding gown in her tree. After the storm, Diveley chatted with neighbors, trying to reunite the dress with its owner. She had never met Paluska, and it seems like the two just missed each other when Diveley was making her rounds.
"I thought the dress had been ripped apart and blown to Streator [IL] or something," Paluska said.
Paluska and her husband rebuilt their house, but Diveley eventually joined the army and moved away. That's when Diveley's mom, Karlie Nau, stepped in to continue the search for the dress' owner.
Nau brought the gown to David's Bridal in Peoria, and they confirmed that the dress had been purchased there. Unfortunately, there was no other information available that might help them find the mystery owner.
Diveley is currently station in Tacoma, WA, and is set to ship out in April. Her one request before she left was that she return the wedding dress to its rightful owner, so she contacted the Peoria Journal Star, which ran a story about the gown.
And who should read the story but Pulaska herself! Excited that she might have finally found her dress, she called David's Bridal. She and Deb Eeten, the store's manager, were able to confirm that it was indeed her wedding dress thanks to information Pulaska gave her.
Diveley broke down when she found out, and posted a triumphant Facebook status.
Before she's deployed Paluska and Diveley have planned a meet-up where Diveley will finally hand over the dress.
"She is such a wonderful person. It's just really awesome that someone would've held onto that dress this long."
Luciano: Tornado-blown wedding dress returns home— Phil Luciano (@LucianoPhil) February 14, 2017
(Via Journal Star) https://t.co/HckFZXnBXg
Amazing! What a true act of kindness.