FARMERSBURG -- After seven years, a series of extraordinary events and the help of several people, a former Brazil High School graduate got his stolen class ring back.
In 2003, Vernon DeWayne Moss' 1974 BHS class ring was stolen from his Farmersburg home during a break in.
In 2005, Carrie Ann Holycross was a member of a work crew clearing the debris of a collapsed sidewalk out of a storm drain in Farmersburg.
"I looked down and there it was," Holycross said. "I don't really know how it got there. There wasn't any way for someone to throw it down there or anything."
Holycross said the ring was in almost perfect condition, with only the band disfigured and dented. The only means of identification were the initials D and M engraved on the sides of a square ruby stone with white lines and a crest with the capital letter B.
"I figured the owner would want it back," Holycross said about putting it in her pocket for safe keeping. "I was surprised it wasn't washed away in the storm drain."
Holycross took the ring home and placed it in her China cabinet until she could find enough time for her to search for the ring's owner.
"I'd stare at it while eating dinner," she said, laughing. "It just kept sitting there, reminding me that I needed to look for the owner."
After several months of casually asking co-workers, friends and fellow church members how they would go about locating the owner, Holycross contacted the Brazil Public Library July 21.
"A person I worked with thought the colors belonged to BHS," she said. "Their mother graduated from there, so I started looking for yearbooks."
However, the 1974 edition wasn't available at the local library. But BPL business Manager Darlene Shepard had an idea.
"My cousin graduated from there in 74, so I called her, but she was out of town," Shepard said. "Then I started e-mailing friends. When we came up with a name, we started looking in phone books."
Acting as a go-between, Shepard contacted Holycross two days later with the good news and sent Moss an e-mail on ClassMates.com about the discovery of the ring. She also contacted a few of his family members living in the area to make sure he'd get the message.
"It was so exciting," Shepard said. "It all happened so fast."
Although Moss was able to contact Shepard the next day, it took a couple of weeks before a meeting could be arranged at the local library to return the ring to its owner on Aug. 7.
"It's truly amazing they even found me," Moss said. "You just wouldn't believe how much this means to me, to my mother."
Moss, filled with emotion, explained how he lost most of his possessions in a house fire years ago.
"I had a letter jacket, my diploma and my memories. It was all that I thought was left," he said. "Now I have my ring back. I honestly thought, after all this time, that it was melted down and gone forever. But it looks pretty good for being in a ditch for so long."
After receiving a big hug from Moss, Holycross said, "I'm glad (the ring) found you."