"I can't believe a total stranger would do something like that."

By Michelle Darrisaw
September 19, 2017
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It's been nearly a month since Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall in southeast Texas. Now that the sun has made the occasional appearance and the murky floodwater has receded in much of the Houston area, many Texans are dealing with the grim reality and painful chore of throwing away their ruined property and personal belongings. One of those Texas residents was Barbara Davis.

Just a few weeks ago, the storm pushed two feet of water in the Braes Heights home that Davis resided in for almost 50 years. Among the destroyed property discovered at Davis's home was her wedding dress—a garment that, like for many brides, has sentimental value to Davis. Unfortunately, though, she had to part ways with it. But once Davis discarded the gown in the trash heap in front of her home, she immediately realized she made it mistake by putting it, along with her other battered possessions, into the garbage.

"It's almost unbelievable that I have had held onto this for so long," Davis told KHOU11. "It's [wedding dress] just something you don't throw away."

Devastated by the possibility that she would never be able to pass her dress down to her daughter, Davis sent her daughter out to search for it. But, alas, the dress was gone—or so she thought.

"I had always wanted my daughters or granddaughters at some point to wear my wedding dress, so I said, 'Okay, that's over with,'" added Davis, who got married in Corpus Christi, Texas, on May 29, 1959.

Fortunately for Davis, a stranger was about to turn her luck around.

It was Monica Modelska who first noticed the dress and other furniture strewn around while she was strolling around the neighborhood with a friend. Modelska took it, noting that the "dress could be in a museum or it could go to Houston Community College to teach future students about dressmaking." But after laundering and preserving the gown, Modelska caught wind that Davis and her daughter were looking for a wedding dress. She then reached out to them.

"I didn't know where it was going to end up necessarily," Modelska said. "But thank God they called me back and they were like, 'Ahh!'"

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For Davis, retrieving her flood-damaged dress back signifies the acts of kindness, heroism, and resiliency that continues to emerge from Texas after such devastation.

"I think you're seeing it on every corner, every corner," Davis said. "I can't believe a total stranger would do something like that."