Rapid City cross survives wildfires

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Amidst the charred ruins of the Schroeder road fire, one family uncovered a true blessing.

On Easter Sunday, the Rice family gathered to celebrate the day and their blessings. The family have lived in the same home on Westberry Court for over 30 years, and have the memories to go with it – weddings included. When their youngest son, Reed, was married, a gazebo topped with a cross was gifted to him and his new wife. Unfortunately, like many in the area, the Rice family did not escape the Schroeder fire un-scorched, and some precious items and heirlooms were lost.

“We had like 15 minutes to get out, so all I grabbed was my husband’s medications, my grandson, and my daughter and we left and we were evacuated for about two days,” said homeowner Michelle Rice. “Then we came home and we were coming out here walking around just checking the damage and we noticed that the gazebo had burned, and when we looked, then we saw that the cross was left untouched…I mean it’s pretty much just how was when we left it.”

It’s what some might consider an Easter miracle. While the sides of the cross show light signs of charring, the cross was otherwise untouched amongst acres of ruins, and that has the Rice family counting their blessings. 

“Just felt really blessed and thankful that the firefighter saved our home one and then two that the cross was laying here,” said Michelle. “Especially on Easter weekend, it was just calming and just gave us a sense of peace and just made us feel really good. After this happening again for the third time for us and then seeing this cross to me was just a sign that everything’s going to be okay.”

As for Reed, who was married under the cross, he is grateful to see some of those memories still intact. 

“That is definitely a favorite memento or memory from our wedding,” said Reed. “Glad that did survive because I did want to keep that as a memory from our wedding and I think it’s just a symbol of God’s always with us no matter what through thick or thin.”

The family says this event has strengthened their faith and plan to remain at the home despite it being the third fire the family has endured. There were major fires near the families home in the 1980’s and one in 2012, and while they are glad to know the cross remains, it doesn’t compare to blessing of having a home to return to. 

“Fast-forward 32…33 years now and it’s still there,’ said Reed. “So I think God’s got a plan for them in that location for some reason we don’t know why.”

Reed says he plans on taking the cross to display in their home.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News