LAGRANGE, GA (WTVM) – An east Alabama man reunited with a family treasure considered lost for 45 years, until one couple from Tallapoosa, Georgia, unearthed a class ring buried on the shores of Jekyll Island.
You could see how much it meant to Daniel Williams of Phenix City, Alabama, to open the box with his father's class ring from 1969 inside. The moment, bittersweet since Daniel's dad Kenneth passed away in 2009, but he says he can't thank the Smith family enough for this gift.
A moment 45 years in the making, Daniel Williams says he closed his lawn maintenance business early Tuesday to take his family from Phenix City to LaGrange.
Eagerly, he waited to meet a couple from Tallapoosa, Georgia, who discovered something his father lost 4 decades ago
"It had been the summer of 1972 that he lost his ring when him and my mom were walking down the beach," Williams said.
While walking on the shores of Jekyll Island, Kenneth W. Williams lost his high school class ring along the muddy clay shores.
Fast forward 45 years: Jaeson and Brittney Smith made their trip to the island, and found something shining in the clay.
"My wife, actually what caught her eye while she was looking for sand dollars and seashells, she saw a quarter laying on the beach. She leaned down to pick up the quarter, and then, while down there, picking up the quarter, she saw the ring," Smith said.
The Smiths say they did extensive research, going through ancestry archives and finding old alumni pictures online from Glen Academy, Kenneth's alma mater.
"There was only one person who graduated that class, whose first name starts with a K and last name was W, and that was Mr. Kenneth Williams," Smith said.
The Smiths wanted to deliver this treasure to Daniel in person.
"It feels like a little fairy tale, almost. It's huge to me. Just, the deepest respect for doing something like this, and wanting to meet me up, when they could've turned around and just said, 'we'll mail you your ring back," Williams said.
A little back story to what the ring meant to the Williams family— Kenneth planned to give the ring to his girlfriend, Daniel's mom, as a Christmas gift back in 1972.
Now, Daniel says he's going to keep it in a box, safe for his family to keep for generations.