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Flushed Special Forces ring gets reunited with retired Army Lt. years later

Retired Brig. Gen. Steve Ritchie wears a bracelet in memory of a fallen Airman and an Air Force ring while visiting the 555th Fighter Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy. (Airman 1st Class Matthew Lotz/U.S. Air Force)
September 27, 2018

A retired U.S. Army Lt. and Purple Heart recipient who lost his Special Forces ring two years ago received great news — his ring was found and would be returning to him.

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel David Keith served in the Army from 1965 to 1989 and he had the ring specially made while he served in Vietnam, Bay 9 News reported. While using a public restroom, the ring slipped off his finger when flushing the toilet.

“I reached up to flush the commode and this thing came off. I hit the handle and it was like a jet came through there and blew the ring straight down the pipe,” Keith explained. “I was heartbroken, and I knew that that was just … I would never, ever see it again.”

He said that the ring was nearly as special as his wedding ring and he wore it every day since 1971, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.

During one of Keith’s two tours of duty in Vietnam, a rocket-propelled grenade almost took his life. “I felt myself going up in the air and turning around and God reached up and shut off the lights,” Keith recollected. He returned home with his ring and later earned a Purple Heart.

He spent the next several decades wearing the ring through the rest of his career and retirement. Losing it was a devastating loss to him.

Despite the odds, the ring was found by Hernando County utility employees two years later.

The Seven Hills lift station in Brooksville, which services 1,700 homes, was conducting lift station upkeep near Keith’s residence when employees Josh Walker and Adam Seeman found the ring.

Darrell Rose, also an employee of the utility company, discovered that Keith’s house was next door to the lift station. He said that Keith described the ring to a tee.

Keith was surprised to hear that his ring had been recovered. “Totally shocked. I’m thinking, ‘God bless this guy,'” Keith said.

During a commissioner’s meeting on Tuesday, the ring was handed back to the vet — after a good cleaning.

Walker and Seeman joined the meeting to see Keith get his ring back. “It’s a great feeling, it’s very nice seeing how happy he is,” said Walker.

“There are no words to express my feelings at this time,” Keith said. “Wonderful, wonderful. I just can’t describe it it’s been, it was an old friend. I had it for many, many years and I tried to replace it and just, there’s no replacement.”