When a treasured position such as a ring is stolen, the odds of ever getting it back are very slim if any.
Posted on 9/12/15
By Melissa Anderson
Many who find themselves in this situation simply assume the ring is gone forever.
For past Langdon High School grad Todd Heck this was the case when his home in Nowata, OK was broken into in early 2008 and a jewelry box containing his high school class ring was stolen.
“It didn’t get worn much after graduation, but once it’s gone – it’s like there’s a piece of your past that’s been taken,” Heck said.
Fast forward to the early fall of 2015 and the cleaning of the Nowata County ditches where, unbeknownst to Heck, his lost class ring was about to be unearthed. Sandra McWilliams and her family had some of the dirt that had been removed from the ditches brought into their yard. McWilliam’s teenage sons began building jumps for their ATVs from the dirt when the discovery of the ring was made.
For McWilliams, the decision to try and find the owner of the class ring was not a difficult one to make.
“I was hoping I could find the owner. If it was mine I would want it back,” McWilliams said, “My mom and dad raised me to be honest so when you find something like this, you look for the owner.”
It took McWilliams a couple of nights of searching online to narrow down what school the Langdon Cardinals Class ring of 1981 belonged to. From there, the power of social media took over.
McWilliams found the Facebook page for the Langdon Area Schools and got in contact. The only hints as to who the owner could be rested in what could be found on the ring itself. The initials of TAH, a wrestler, and the year were only clues that the school and, subsequently ,the community could use to determine who the ring belonged to. It was here that the true power and reach of Facebook was showcased.
“As soon as we received the message, the teachers sprung into action,” Melissa Hiltner said.
First, Jenny Throndset Romfo called her father, Dennis Throndset, who looked it up in his old yearbooks while at the same time, Darby Hart posted it to a Facebook group called “Growing up in Langdon”.
“What would have taken weeks took under a half an hour,” Dennis Throndset said.
Throndset explained that had McWilliams called the school, and then they in turn called him, the task of finding and getting Heck’s ring back to him would have taken at least a couple weeks.
“Yearbooks are a great resource, but the ability to answer questions about past graduates takes a little time when using that source,” Throndset said.
Once the story had been posted to the Facebook group “Growing up in Langdon”, a class mate of Heck’s, Paul Rohde, saw the ring and immediately knew it had to be Heck’s.
“Paul Rohde tagged me on Facebook and asked if I had lost my ring,” Heck said.
The whole process that would have taken weeks before Facebook took less than half an hour. Once Heck was notified that his ring had been found and who to contact in order to get it back the ring was back, in his possession within a few days.
“It’s great to get the ring back. There’s no real monetary value that’s attached to the ring but the sentimental value and memories are what couldn’t be replaced,” Heck said.
The chance to give someone back a lost memento was very rewarding for McWilliams as well as be a part of such an amazing story.
“I was excited to meet him and give him his ring back. It’s pretty cool to be a part of a story like this,” McWilliams said.
Now that Heck has his class ring back, a new memory can be added to all the things the ring conjures up for him.
“I’d like to thank everyone in North Dakota, Paul Rohde in Texas, and Oklahoma for making this possible,” Heck said.
Overall the experience has certainly proved a memorable one and shown that sometimes the powers of social media and the Internet, in general, can make anything possible. Even defying the odds and returning a stolen ring to its owner.