Clinton man's class ring returned 20 years after he lost it

CLINTON, Tenn. (WATE) - A Clinton man got a surprise he never expected, over 20 years after graduating from Clinton High School, thanks to a stranger. 

David Beets was 18 years old when he lost his Clinton High School class ring. It was gold, engraved with his name, and musical notes because he was in choir. 

Beets says he doesn't remember where he lost the ring, but at the time, he thought it was on campus. That was in 1996.

Over 20 years later, Matt Ryan, a total stranger, came across the ring while he was out using his metal detector near the school.

"I guess I'd been playing there in my younger days, just having some fun with some of the guys I grew up with. Luckily he found it 20 years later," said Beets.

"You don't find gold rings in the ground everyday. Especially something that old," said Matt Ryan, the person who found Beets' class ring. 

Ryan said he knew it probably had significant value to the owner. Beets' name was engraved on the band of the ring, so Ryan begin to look for him through social media. 

"I guess nervous a little bit. If something found something of mine that had been sitting here for 21 years in the ground, it's mixed emotion is basically what it is," said Ryan. 

When Ryan finally found Beets, he asked what year he graduated. It was the year written on the ring. 

"Immediately I'm like, okay, I think I know what he's found. It was over 20 years ago that I had lost the ring," said Beets. 

The two reconnected on New Year's Eve 2017, at the start of 2018, Beets was wearing the ring he thought he would never see again. 

"I thought it had been lost forever. It was exciting, I could tell it was exciting for him to be able to find it and get it back to its original owner," said Beets. 

Ryan says he plans to continue looking for items, like the lost ring, with the hopes of bringing others back to special items they lost. 

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