When Dustin Halsey leaves for Parris Island, South Carolina, in less than three weeks, the new combat support recruit will be leaving behind a great deal — including his Marine Corps ring.
He won’t be taking the ring with him because he doesn’t want to lose it again.
The ring was found near the Plaza Express Car Wash pay station two weekends ago, shortly after Halsey took his mother’s vehicle to be cleaned.
When the ring was found by car wash employees, a hunt to find its owner began. A photo of the ring posted to Facebook was shared hundreds of times and eventually reached more than 15,000 people, according to car wash owner Stacy Daly. When social media generated no productive leads, Daly contacted the Tribune. A reader then sent Halsey a link to the story and asked if he had any idea who the ring might belong to.
Recognizing his ring, Halsey said he did have an idea whose it was.
“I was worried,” Halsey said of the moment he realized the ring was missing. “I didn’t know where it was.”
Halsey’s four-year stint as a Marine begins with his departure for boot camp June 15. When he leaves, he’ll be following in the footsteps of his father, who also served in the Marines, and numerous other relatives.
“It’s always something I wanted to do,” he said. “The military runs deep in family.”
Halsey wasn’t sure how the ring landed on the ground at the car wash, but he theorized that it wound up in his lap instead of the cupholder when he removed it, then fell as he stepped out of the vehicle.
When he realized it was missing, he checked between the seats, then searched for it at his mother’s apartment with no luck. He never considered the ring might be at the car wash and never imagined that an image of it was making the rounds on Facebook, so being reunited with it on Friday came as a pleasant surprise.
“I was glad it was found,” he said. “It means the world to me.”
Daly was pleased to find the ring’s owner as well, though the raw recruit who claimed it was not the owner she had imagined.
“I told him, ‘I had you pegged as an 80- to 90-year-old World War II vet,’” Daly said of her meeting with Halsey at the car wash on Friday. Because of an image of Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima in 1945 on one side of the ring, Daly had speculated that the ring’s owner had served around that time.
While Halsey, who was headed to his pared-down graduation ceremony at Cochranton Junior-Senior High on Wednesday evening, was not what Daly expected, meeting him and returning his ring on Memorial Day weekend made for a “wonderful ending,” Daly said.
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