BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A woman in Maine has been reunited with her late husband's class ring which was lost nearly five decades ago, however she has no idea how it ended up buried under half a foot of soil in Finland.
According to Bangor Daily News, Debra McKenna was 16 years old in the summer of 1973 when her then-boyfriend Shawn gave her his Morse High School ring before he left for college. The couple had dated all throughout high school, and they eventually got married in 1977 when Debra was 21-years-old. They stayed together for 40 years, until Shawn's death in 2017.
It wasn't long after Shawn had given Debra the ring that she believes she lost it in a department store in Portland, Maine. "I went to the restroom, and I took it off to wash my hands," she said. "I left my name and number [at the store] but never got contacted by anybody, and that was it. I never saw it again." That is, until last week.
"There was a lot of weeping when I learned that someone found it and made the effort to reach out and find me," Debra said, after Shawn's class ring turned up in the mail at her home in Brunswick, Maine last week.
According to local news, Marko Saarinen, a 38-year old metalworker Southwest Finland, had come across the blue-stoned silver ring while he was using a metal detector in a forested city park.
"I was alone in the familiar berry forest in Kaarina in the afternoon," Saarinen told the newspaper. "Around 1 p.m., a good signal came from the viewfinder to the headset... It was an incredible feeling when a great ring was revealed from the ground. Usually my findings are bottle caps or other junk."
Saarinen said he studied the ring more closely and found the Morse High School mascot name, "Shipbuilders," written on the side. In a strange coincidence, Saarinen is a shipbuilder by trade. He also managed to decipher some initials on the ring, and the name of the U.S. school.
When he got home, Saarinen contacted the Morse High School Facebook page and tried and find who it belonged to. The alumni association was quickly able to identify Shawn McKenna as the original owner, but told Saarinen that McKenna had died three years ago.
Although the owner had since passed away, Saarinen said he didn't feel it was right to hang on to the ring himself. "I decided to send the ring to the man's wife," he said. "I posted it on Wednesday."
Debra McKenna said she has no idea how Shawn's long-lost class ring made it deep underground in a Finnish forest some 4,000 miles across the ocean. Debra said Shawn had worked in Finland in the 1990's, but he was nowhere near the town of Kaarina, and that was two decades after the ring had disappeared.
As a thank you for Saarinen returning the ring, the Alumni Association sent him a Morse High School hoodie.
"It's very touching in this world of negativity, to have decent people step forward and make an effort," Debra McKenna said. "There are good people in the world, and we need more of them."