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Submitted photos Mike Valle of La Salle found a class ring west of DePue in Pilgrim Park last weekend while metal detecting. After a little more “detective work,” he got it back to the owner, an out-of-towner who lost it more than 15 years ago.
La Salle resident Mike Valle has been metal detecting for just a couple months, but he’s already made his first big find, discovering a class ring that had been lost for more than 15 years.
Valle, who joined the Illinois Valley Historical Research and Recovery Association metal detecting club about two months ago, said he was detecting in Pilgrim Park west of DePue on Sunday when he discovered the ring.
“I’ve found a bunch of silver,” said Valle, “but this was my first time finding personal property. I was pretty excited.”
Valle said he cleaned up the ring, which had a Winnebago High School insignia and the year 1996 inscribed. So, he called the school to find out how he could get in touch with the owner.
“I could make out a first name and middle initial, but only the first letter of the last name, so I called the school. At first, they were reluctant and said they don’t normally do this sort of thing (give out information about former students), but I said, OK, how about if I just give you my contact information?” Valle said.
Within a few hours, the owner of the ring, Kathleen Lovett called him back. “She said her father had just called her about some kind of ring,” Valle said. “I asked her did she lose a class ring years ago and when she said yes I told her I just found it. She was just freaking out.”
Lovett told Valle she had lost the ring less than a year after her parents gave it to her and to the day she sometimes wondered what happened to it.
Valle said Lovett asked how much she would owe him to send the ring back and he told her he didn’t want any money — he just asked her to do something nice for someone she doesn’t know. Valle hopes to meet up with Lovett in person once she receives the ring back. “I’m going to start a chain reaction of goodness,” he said.
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