Utility crew reunites man with item lost for 44 years
LOUISVILLE, KY (NBC) – Forty-four years ago Richard Nixon was President of the United States, a Corvette Sting Ray was the car to have, and Majestic Prince won the Kentucky Derby. 1969 also marks the last time a Kentuckiana man saw a prized personal possession … that is until last week.
The incredible reunion took place just a few feet away from where it was lost, all thanks to LaGrange Utility workers.
"We were just doing some routine maintenance on some sewer lines," said Brian Golden with LaGrange Utilities.
"Just happened to look in there at the right time and there it was," said Bryan Nolin with LaGrange Utilities.
"You wonder where did it come from?," said Jonathan Bates with LaGrange Utilities.
Just a few weeks ago, down below the surface in the sewer lines of LaGrange they made the discovery.
"It was really a surprise to us," Golden said.
They found a unique piece of jewelry.
"This is a class ring from Oldham County Class of 1969," Nolin said.
The three LaGrange Utility workers noticed it while flushing a line along 5th and Spring Streets.
"It was just a rake, a yard rake, and just reached in there and hooked it and it hung on it," Golden said.
"We scrubbed it and looked at it again to make sure and then I looked in and saw the initials," Nolin said.
The initials "BD" were etched inside and the search for its owner began.
"The utility company called and said they had found a senior class ring for 1969," said Bruce Duncan, who lost the ring.
Duncan was shocked to get the call some 44 years after he last saw his ring.
"After I remembered how it really had happened it made all these sense in the world," Duncan said.
There's a story, and a bit of a cover up, about how the ring went missing and it can be traced back to Duncan's 1967 Corvette Stingray
"I washed the car constantly, at least every other day," he said. "You kept your cars clean and impressed the girls."
For Duncan that meant washing the car even in the worst of weather.
"My parents used to say you're going to have pneumonia because I'd even wash it in the winter time," he said.
All that cleaning caught up with him one day.
"My ring was so big, too big for me, that it would drop in that bucket off my finger from being slick," Duncan said.
His dad didn't want him making the yard muddy with all the water, so Bruce said he snuck in and emptied the bucket in the bathroom and the ring went down the drain.
"I thought, ‘oh my gosh, what am I going to do? They are going to kill me,'" Duncan said.
Duncan did what any teenager would consider doing - he told a fib.
"I got questioned about why aren't you wearing it more. I said I think it's in my dresser or I think it's here or I think it's there," Duncan explained.
While the ring vanished, the conversation about it didn't.
"A few weeks ago my mother even said I just wonder what ever happened to that senior ring of yours," he said.
Then the call came from the utility company.
"I think it was a shock more than anything," Duncan said.
Duncan confessed to his mother, and there's another bit of irony.
"Funny thing is I can now wear it. I couldn't wear it back then because it was too big," Duncan said.
"For laying there 44 years, it didn't really look all that bad," Nolin said.
The utility workers cleaned it up and happily reunited Duncan with the long lost memento.
"I feel like doing this, we were able to touch someone personally so I think it was really a good thing," Bates said.
Duncan said he needs to take it to the jewelry store to be properly cleaned and maybe even restored. After that, he isn't going to let his ring out of this site.
"I'm going to put it away somewhere so I don't lose it again because if my mother asks me if I still have it I'm going to pull it out and say here it is," Duncan chuckled.