North Texas

Former College Soccer Star Survives Garland Tornado; Championship Rings Blown Away

Residents in cities across North Texas scrambled to safety two Sundays ago as tornadoes tore through entire communities.

In Garland, a former college soccer star is picking up the pieces and trying to find priceless items that were blown away in the tornado.

The work to recover what an EF2 tornado tore apart continued Sunday afternoon along Murray Drive in Garland.

Homeowners were out mending fences and starting up their chainsaws.

"Everybody's stuff is everywhere," Chelsea Raymond said.

Raymond wonders if what the wind blew away from her home will ever come back.

"[They're] somewhere out there," she said. "No telling where. In the mud. In the dirt. They could be in the next city over, no telling."

The 27-year-old was home watching Netflix when she got a text from a family member asking if she was okay.

Unaware of the approaching storm, Raymond looked at her cell phone and ran to the bathroom with her dog and a mattress from a spare bedroom with five minutes to spare.

"It was just really loud wind," she recalled. "Then you heard everything breaking."

She emerged unharmed.

However her house now had gaping holes, missing walls and missing college memorabilia.

"They were on a shelf right here in the corner," she said.

Four rings. But not just any rings.

"It was a really big deal to go to SFA," she said. "It was kind of the prime time for SFA to really build a foundation there."

And "Number 9" made the most of her time on the Stephen F. Austin State University women's soccer team, breaking records and earning conference championship rings beginning in 2011.

"That was four straight years. We only lost one conference game, only tied one conference game. So it's a big deal to realize those important things are gone," she said.

Days after the tornado, there was a surprise discovery around the back alley to her house.

"This girl comes up with this box and says, 'Hey is this yours? It looks like a class ring,'" she said. "I was like, 'Oh my gosh! This is one of my conference rings!'"

The former college standout said she hoped someone finds the three remaining silver rings with her name, Chelsea Raymond, engraved on them.

They're presumably still in their black boxes, she said.

"Getting those back or getting those replaced would be awesome," Raymond said. "I would probably wear them all the time now."

But through the search, she's keeping it all in perspective about what can't be replaced at the end of the day.

"Even the rings we can find those, but I can't be [replaced]. My dog can't be," she said. "Just finding the positives as much as possible."

Raymond said she's in touch with her SFA soccer coach to see if the rings might be replaced if they're not found.

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