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A family's irreplaceable military quilt lost in a tornado found its way home again

CNN logo CNN 4/24/2020 By Lauren M. Johnson, CNN
a group of people posing for a photo: The kindness of strangers helped returned a quilt to its rightful place. © Courtesy Loren Lockmiller The kindness of strangers helped returned a quilt to its rightful place.

An Easter tornado took an irreplaceable military quilt when it destroyed Beulah Lockmiller's home, but through the kindness of strangers, it was returned to its rightful place.

Larry Lockmiller, Beulah's husband, served in the Army National Guard for almost 30 years and was deployed during the Gulf War.

The quilt was a piece of that history for his family. It consists of his patches, places he traveled in the military, and pictures all arranged around a poem he wrote in Saudi Arabia during his deployment, his granddaughter Loren Lockmiller told CNN.

When a tornado came through Chattanooga, Tennessee, on April 12, Beulah's home was destroyed and her dresser that contained the quilt was missing.

"The morning after ... that was one of the first things she noticed," Loren said.

The family looked all over the property trying to see if it had blown close by, but they had no luck.

They then took to Facebook to try and find the missing quilt, and the great niece of the woman who made the quilt got a hit from a local reporter.

The reporter remembered taking a photo of it in his coverage of the tornado damage, but when they went to the site it was gone.

They used the reporter's photo to spread the word even further, and after thousands of shares, a woman named Pilar Estrada and her son Aaron said they had found the quilt.

On Thursday, the Lockmiller family was reunited with their precious family quilt.

"(My grandmother) was very, very, very emotional, because losing my grandfather was losing part of herself, so ever since he passed she has just been hurt ... losing another part of him and getting it back was bittersweet," Loren said.

"This has been a little light in the darkness ... a pleasant surprise."

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