Oklahoma woman dying of cancer searches tornado debris for quilt she’s making for her family

Posted at 7:41 PM, May 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-25 19:41:42-04

Moore, Okla. - The storm cellar at Larry Wells house was finished just three weeks ago.  He helped his wife into it as the tornado churned down his street.

"We couldn't hear the debris. We couldn't hear anything but the roar of the storm. It was literally like standing behind a jet airplane revving up to takeoff," said Wells.

Get the latest on the tornado recovery efforts at our sister station KFOR in Oklahoma City

When they emerged, they were surrounded by destruction. And for three days now, he and relatives have tunneled into the carnage.

"We know we're not going to find much. My wife and I have been married 43 years, so we had a lot of memories, souvenirs, things like that," said Wells.

But to his wife, the most important thing buried is her wicker needlepoint basket. Somewhere in the damp debris are 12 cloth squares for what she hopes to be an heirloom quilt for her grandchildren. She's worked on it three months, and doesn't have the time to start over. She's dying of cancer.

When Shelly Wells arrives in her red Jeep, she gets good news. They found it.

Her sister is in tears.

They can hold on to memories, but this is something they can physically and tangibly hold on to.

"I can't begin to thank people. That's all I can say. That, and God bless you."

Soon, the squares of tractors and cars will be sewn into a quilt. The colors have bled a little, but Shelly says that's OK. When she's gone, it will tell the story of what the quilt endured, the family who searched so hard to find the parts, and the grandmother who wanted more than anything to leave another memory.