HARRISONBURG, VA (WHSV/Gray News) – When Patrick Vigna’s apartment building burned in late March, he was heartbroken.
He was afraid he’d lost something very dear to him and they were so small that even if they weren’t destroyed, he thought they’d never be found.
"My grandparents' wedding rings are on my wall," Vigna said. "My grandparents passed away nine and 10 years ago. My dad gave them to me when I moved to college, and he handed them to me, and he said, 'I trust you, and I want them to be with you while you're in college.'"
The apartment complex hired a restoration company and asked residents to request the things they wanted them to look for.
His grandparent’s rings were at the top of Vigna’s list, along with a shell casing from his grandfather's 21-gun salute, his grandmother's rosary, and two baseball bats.
"I went three weeks, and I just thought everything was gone," he said. "I didn't think anything was going to be there anymore. I came to grips with it. The day that it happened, I called my dad, and I apologized for losing the rings."
Then came a call from a woman with the apartment complex.
"And she said, 'me and the maintenance crew of the buildings were moved by your letter, so we went up there and spent as long as we could, and we found three rings.'"
But were they the right three rings?
Vigna met with the woman.
“I didn’t know what to say, I couldn’t speak,” he said, “and I was like ... ‘those are my rings!’ And she looked at me, and she was like, ‘are those really yours?’ And I was like, ‘these are my grandparents’ wedding rings.'”
Vigna said it was the happiest moment of his life.
"I looked at her and said, 'I'll never, ever be able to say thank you enough for what this means to me and what these rings mean to me.' And then she said 'well, we found some more stuff.'"
Not only did the restoration crew recover the rings, but they also found the shell casing from his grandfather’s 21-gun salute and a photo of Vigna with his dad.
“It was the most miraculous feeling,” he said. “It was something I do not think I will ever feel again, and if I never do, I’m OK with that.”