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Army veteran is returned a class ring he lost 7 years earlier

Metal detecting (Santeri Viinamäki/WikiCommons)

Jon Tyler Davis’ class ring from South View High School, Class of 2010, includes a feature no other Tiger ring from that year has: The word “President.”

Davis remembers well that election for Student Body President. As per election rules, he had to win with 51 percent of the vote; he sealed the victory on the second ballot.

But the Army veteran says the historic victory gave him his fill of politics.

“It made me never want to do student government again, but that’s fine,” he says with a laugh. “People get hostile. And I was like, ‘Why does this matter that much?’ I’d definitely never run for real office.”

Still, Davis said he had fun and the class ring is special to him, like it is for most.

But in 2013, he lost the ring, when he was stationed in Monterrey, California, to train at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center.

“To be honest I couldn’t tell you how I lost it or the exact moment,” he says. “It’s a hard thing to find a ring when you could have lost it anywhere in town, right? So you think it’s gone.”

But now the ring is found.

A California man named Jonathan Lenz, using a metal detector, discovered the ring about 6 or 7 inches into the ground, next to a Frisbee golf course in Monterrey County. He and others from his Facebook group, California Metal Detecting, were able to locate Davis after a two-day hunt.

Davis says he is not surprised where the ring had been found.

“I played there all the time,” he says, adding that he does not play Frisbee golf as much these days.

Lenz had to do a bit of sleuthing online to find Davis.

The ring had some identifying information. In addition to “President,” it had Davis’ name inscribed on the inside and the word “Tigers.” Lenz was able to get the school name from Jostens, which had made the ring, but had no luck when he called South View.

Meanwhile, he posted to his Facebook group, California Metal Detecting. They reached out to a South View High Facebook group, but Davis was not a part of it.

Davis said he heard from someone from the metal detector group — not Lenz — asking him if he had lost a ring.

“I just kind of ignored it,” he says. “I thought it was spam at first. I didn’t even open the message.”

Then he heard from someone he knew from his past, a guy with whom he played football for the one year he attended Gray’ Creek High School. The man sent pictures and said, “Hey is this ring yours?”

Says Davis: “I opened that message and I was like, ‘I’ll be damned’ — excuse my language — that is my ring.”

Afterward, he and Lenz touched base.

Davis lives in Raleigh and works in IT. He served in the Army seven years and one month and said his official ETS date — which refers to expiration-term of service — is Thursday.

On Facebook, he praised Lenz, whose handle is Jb Lenz, for the effort he and the other people from the metal detecting group made to reconnect him with his class ring.

“He and some friends … spent two days tracking me down on the other side of the country for no other reason than they wanted to see it returned to me!” Davis wrote: “I lost that ring more than 7 years ago! Jb and his friends have absolutely inspired me.”

Lenz responded on Facebook, saying that he was happy he did something that made Davis’ holidays and was able to give back to him “something that was a big part of your life!”

Lenz said the whole thing made his holidays as well and would be something he would never forget. He also thanked Davis for serving his country.

Davis says he feels guilty because he was “a little distrusting of it at first,” and wondered if someone was trying to get over on him.

“But no, he mailed it to me and it got to my apartment up here Saturday,” he says. “The only damage to the ring was, after cleaning it off a little more, the crest on the top of it came off. I’m going to get that fixed.”

He adds: “At the time that I purchased that class ring, it cost a lot of money to me. It was a sacrifice. And to have it returned after so long from so far away was really neat.

“Those guys out there in that group are really decent human beings.”


© 2019 The Fayetteville Observer