Ashley Antley just needed some alone time on the beach in the days after Hurricane Michael.
The St. Joe Beach resident was near the Highland View Bridge when her search for some serenity became a treasure hunt.
There, among the sand and some debris, Antley found a wedding photo album.
The only information she had to go on was the bride and groom were “Sara and Chad.”
So, she did what many did while searching for loved ones or treasured memories in the days after Michael; Antley took to social media.
Her first post, which included a photo of the bride and groom from the album, went up on Facebook Oct. 18.
In just a few days, the post had been shared more than 13,000 times and those shares came from across the country, with folks from several states, Alabama, Georgia and beyond, commenting on the find and wishing Antley good luck on her search.
Antley finally received a reply from the groom’s aunt.
That was Oct. 22.
The groom, as it turned out, was Chad Waits, whose father, Don Waits, lives part-time in St. Joe Beach.
“I had the album in my home and like a lot of things it was lost after Michael,” Don Waits said. “I had no idea all that was going on with Facebook, something like 12,000 or 13,000 shares.
“I couldn’t believe it. I figured they were lost and gone forever.”
As it turned out, much had blessed Chad and Sara’s lives since those wedding snaps.
The two remained married since their 2005 wedding in Arizona and now reside in the Pacific Northwest.
“Thank you Ashley Antley for finding our wedding album,” Chad posted on Facebook. “I’ve enjoyed reading everybody’s thoughtful comments.”
The post announcing the find and successful end of the search was met with a stream of “awesome” and “amazing” comments, noting the blessing the reunion of album to family would have.
Sheila Waits, the groom’s mother, also passed along her thanks.
“Thank you Ashley for looking after my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding album,” she wrote. “The work you are doing here is such a blessing.”
Ashley, heading into Port St. Joe that day, was able to meet up with Don and pass the treasured find on.
“It brought a lot of much needed joy right after the storm and is such a happy ending, which I think we all need more of,” Antley said.
Don, relating the story in this newspaper’s office, could only shake his head.
“I can’t thank her enough,” Don said. “It was pretty amazing.”