VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) Dave Mills of Vancouver, Washington, never expected to see his 8th-grade class ring again. It’s been missing nearly 40 years.
Mills, who grew up in a small Kentucky town, got the ring as a special gift from his mother when he graduated from Flatlick School in Knox County in 1978.
“I was raised pretty poor. We didn’t have a lot of money and so it was a pretty big deal for my mom to be able to save money to get me the ring, you know,” Mills told our CBS sister station KOIN 6 News.
A year or two later, he believed the ring was lost on a camping trip. It’s been gone ever since.
Gary Fishman, a metal detecting hobbyist in Ohio, found the ring during a trip to Kentucky to look for items from the Civil War era.
“For whatever reason it was close to the surface, which just made finding it easier,” Fishman told KOIN 6 News. “Upon cleaning it up I realized there was initials in it.”
Fishman contacted the Lexington Herald-Leader to help. The news story caught the eye of Mills’ friend, who then shared it with him on Facebook.
“I got to looking into it and they had the guy’s information on their website,” Mills said. “So I was able to call him and, sure enough, it ended up being mine.”
Mills was able to identify all 3 of the initials — DLM — engraved on the inside of the ring.
Fishman said he was “very glad that I was able to get this back to him. It’s his history.”
Mills said he thinks it’s amazing the ring looks as good as it does after being on the ground for nearly 40 years.
“I just love the ring. I just think it’s kind of cool,” Mills said. “It will go on my pinky now,” he added, laughing.
Also, talk about a twist of fate. Mills said he, too, once found a gold ring while shoveling outside of his Kentucky home and returned it to the original owner.