Pastor searches for owner of wedding dress lost in tornado

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PHOTO: WFMY via CBS News

(CBS News) – After a tornado ravaged his church, one pastor from Greensboro, North Carolina, is not dwelling on what he lost but, rather, what he found. After the April storm wreaked havoc on the town, Pastor Lester Woodard went to check on the damage at Living Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

In the woods behind his church, he saw downed branches and debris. Then something bright and white caught his eye.

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He walked about 50 feet into the forest and found a wedding dress wrapped around a tree trunk. “I took it down, and I looked at it, and it was not torn, it was just like it came out of the store,” Woodard told WFMY.-TV.

Knowing the wedding dress meant something special to someone out there, the pastor dry cleaned it. He has been keeping it safe inside his home ever since.

The church, which Woodard started nearly two decades ago, suffered extensive damage in the storm. The tornado ripped off part of the church’s roof, and the pastor has not been able to hold services there since.

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Parishioner Stratford Scott walks through Living Hope Missionary Baptist Church as he looks for salvageable items April 16, 2018, in Greensboro, N.C.

 ANDREW KRECH/NEWS & RECORD VIA AP/CBS NEWS

Many others in Greensboro suffered damage to their homes and lost belongings in the tornado. Despite suffering his own loss, Woodard knows he can help at least one person get something back. He has made it his mission to find the owner of the wedding dress.

“I hope that somebody recognizes it, and you will be able to get this dress,” the pastor said, asking the community for help in finding its owner.

As for his damaged church, the pastor said God will guide him through. “If God brings you to something, he’ll bring you out of something…so why would we worry?” Woodard said.

**TOP PHOTO: WFMY via CBS News