While many may have thrown it away or simply not given it a second thought, when Marni Danielson noticed an old class ring in the dirt outside her new home in Toledo, she took to Facebook to find its rightful owner.
Danielson and her family moved to Toledo from Clatskanie, Oregon, about a month ago to be closer to relatives in Vader.
“I would be so upset if I lost my class ring,” Danielson said. “I would be devastated. I’m very big into family heirlooms and stuff like that. Like that’s important to me.”
So she posted in a Toledo Facebook group about it, and that’s where a Providence Centralia Hospital employee suggested it may be the ring of her coworker, Dwayne Meeks, who lived in Danielson’s home in Toledo while he was attending high school there.
His mother lived in the house until she died, 21 years ago. Meeks hadn’t been to the house since.
When contacted about the ring, Meeks’ sister Renee Strasburger arranged for the two of them to head out to their old place to pick it up. As Danielson presented the ring, Strasburger described it as a miracle.
The brother and sister held each other with tears in their eyes.
“He gave up looking for it 43 years ago,” Strasburger said. “He’s had a rough year you guys. So this is really special for us.”
Meeks’ wife died of COVID-19 this year. And working at the hospital during a pandemic has been extremely challenging, he said, adding: “And it’s getting that way again.”
He has worked as a substitute teacher, at a juvenile detention center and at Yard Birds for 17 years, which he said was his favorite job.
“The hospital’s my second favorite. You all become like a family,” Meeks said. “But I’m retiring next week.”
After such turmoil, Meeks said being reunited with the ring he lost all those years ago felt like a sign he was going in the right direction.
The stone from the center of the ring fell out in the house in the days after Danielson first recovered it, but that did not appear to bother him.
And of course, Danielson took to Facebook again to update the many invested commenters from her first post, saying: “We are so excited and can’t believe that we found the owner. It was just tucked in the dirt beside the house and I happened to catch a glance of it. So incredible. I am beyond thrilled that they are getting such a wonderful thing back.”