Sharon Geier thought June’s flooding of the Highwood River had claimed her 42-year-old wedding dress, but a group effort, spearheaded by Geier’s husband, ensured the keepsake would remain in the family for years to come.

Geier’s wedding dress had been stored in an underground parking area when the floodwaters hit. The garage was submerged in a combination of river water, sewage and silt.

Due to safety concerns in High River, the family was unable to access the locker for several weeks. When they were permitted to return, Sharon returned to discover her dress atop of a pile of muck.

Sharon was devastated by the condition of her dress and wanted nothing to do with it.

Without his wife’s knowledge, husband Rick took the dress to some of the Geier’s neighbours to ask their opinion on salvaging the garment.

Penny Oliver and Betty Rockafellow were eager to help and offered to clean the dress.

“There were a few stains on it, so I had some spray that would take the stains out,” says Betty. “We went to Penny to find out if she had something that could finish the job. She took it home and hung it in her shower to drip dry because we didn't want to wring it out to dry it.”

Once the women finished an initial cleaning of the dress, Rick took it to an Okotoks dry cleaner to complete the task.

Save for some rust stains on the buttons and head piece, Sharon’s wedding dress was fully repaired.

Monday, on Sharon's birthday, Rick surprised his wife by returning to her the wedding dress she thought she had lost forever.

Sharon has no daughters but is hopeful she’ll be able to give the dress to a granddaughter or a great granddaughter in the future, and plans to store the dress in a safe location.

With files from CTV's Kevin Fleming