A member of the group, Johnny Stanley from Tunnel Hill, found the ring last year when he was hunting relics across the street from Ringgold High School. A yearlong search for the ring’s owner came to a close as he placed the like-new piece of jewelry into Taylor’s hand.
“With all that is going on with the world, it’s the little things like this that really pick you up and give you something to hang on to,” Taylor said as he wiped a tear from his eye.
Taylor lost the ring six years ago when he was a junior at Ringgold High.
The short ceremony to return the ring was held at the Catoosa County Historical Society in the Old Stone Church in Ringgold. In a building full of history with relic hunters sharing their antique finds, Taylor’s class ring was a modern gem in an ancient ruin. But to Taylor it was the memory of childhood, what seemed like a lost symbol of youth was finally home.
Taylor worked two jobs to purchase the ring with a $650 price tag during his junior year. Taylor was preparing to move to Alabama to take care of his grandmother when he lost the ring. Time and again he would think about the ring and begin to look for it, never quite believing it was gone. When he learned of its resting place for the past six years, Taylor speculated it was dropped along the loop where he would run for JROTC.
“This brings back a lot of good memories,” Taylor said. “A lot of memories from a simpler time.”
When Stanley found the ring in 2012 he used the ring as clues to find the owner. The name Eddie Taylor was inscribed inside and the outside had JROTC and RHS on it. Stanley contacted the school and discovered Taylor had joined the military for two years and was living in Alabama with his family. Never faltering, Stanley was dedicated to the end to return the ring.
“He (Stanley) seems like a really good person to go out of his way to give the ring back to me,” said Taylor. “It’s surprising that something like this could happen. This is something I can tell my kids about when they are older.”
Lamar White, president of the Relic Recovery Club, commended Stanley, saying he “did the right thing.” Apparently finding rings is a common occurrence for relic hunters but returning the rings to the rightful owners is far less common.
“We are glad to see the owner has it back,” White said.