Julie Blank thankful for replaced wedding ringsWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: Toledo Free Press will follow the Blank family of Millbury for the next year as they rebuild their lives after a June 5 tornado destroyed their Main Street home.
Julie Blank doesn’t need her wedding rings to prove her love for Ed, but Valentine’s Day reminds her why it is nice to have them again.
In addition to the family’s home, the June 5 tornado swept away her engagement and wedding rings, which were soldered together. She also lost a diamond ring from a vacation in St. Thomas that she wore on her right hand.
“I took them off at 11 p.m.,” Julie said. “I went upstairs to go to bed and took out my contacts and took off my wedding rings and diamond ring, but I didn’t put on my pajamas because Casey had a friend spending the night and I went downstairs to iron clothes for church.”
She would never see the rings again.
After she finished ironing, the tornado siren went off. Since Julie always went into the basement when she heard the whistle, she headed downstairs with her family.
“I never thought a tornado would hit. I go in the basement all the time. If I thought a tornado would hit, I would have taken shoes, my purse. I didn’t take anything,” she said.
Julie said losing the rings was hard. She and Ed had just celebrated their 16th wedding anniversary in May by renewing their vows in Las Vegas. Ed didn’t lose his ring because he doesn’t take his off at night. Julie still takes hers off at night.
“Oh God, it was devastating. It was the first thing I realized I had lost,” Julie said.
Ed said aside from the devastation, loss of life and the utter shock, Julie was most upset with losing her wedding rings. That was the first thing that she really focused on in terms of what was lost pertaining to their personal belongings, he said. It actually was kind of depressing to her.
“I recall her asking from her hospital bed on a daily basis if anyone had recovered her wedding rings,” Ed said. “I remember having to give her the bad news that they had not been found.”
Ed knew Julie wanted to replace the rings, but he thinks she felt guilty because those who died in the tornado did not have that opportunity. Once she did get them, “I could see that this changed her mentality and started to help her begin the healing process,” Ed said.
Julie’s new rings are white gold instead of yellow gold and are all diamonds. Her original rings featured an emerald because it was the second marriage for both Julie and Ed. An emerald is also Ed’s birthstone, the same month they were married. She did not replace the ring from St. Thomas.
“Our kids went to school together, we lived in the same community,” Julie said of meeting Ed.
Julie’s son, Joey, and Ed’s son, Wes, are the same age. Julie and Ed welcomed Casey a year after they got married.
For Valentine’s Day, Ed and Julie don’t have plans for the two of them, but the Blanks and close friends are getting together.
“Holidays and birthdays are a bigger deal now. Every day is a little bit more special than it used to be,” Julie said. “We received a housewarming gift that said ‘every day is a gift,’ and it really is.”