Mary Combs remembers every detail of her high school class ring.
The 1985 Waynesboro High School ring was adorned with an orange topaz birthstone, revealing the name Mary on one side and the image of a cross on the other. Her full maiden name, Hazel Mary Smith, was etched on the band’s interior.
The ring, though, was lost to the Matthews, Ga., resident 16 years ago.
After speaking with a man over the phone who claimed to have a ring matching her description, it didn’t take long for Combs to put two and two together.
When Combs hung up from her phone call with Troy Pinson, she knew she had found her long-lost ring.
Pinson’s father found the item years earlier as he was vacuuming a used vehicle he had recently purchased.
Shortly after, Pinson took on the task of finding the ring’s rightful owner and was later interviewed for a Columbia County News-Times story that depicted Pinson’s search.
A former classmate of Combs’ read the Oct. 19 story and tracked Combs down. Then Combs got in touch with Pinson.
Combs last remembered seeing the ring, she said, in a small jewelry box.
Combs said her ex-husband had owned several trucks and speculates the ring may have fallen out into the vehicle purchased by Pinson’s father.
“I was so shocked, and I was just so overwhelmed,” she said. “I have been looking for it for years.”
The ring holds a sentimental value to Combs as her mother purchased it for her. Combs recalled going with her mother to Augusta Mall and designing the ring, which cost nearly $300 at the time.
“I haven’t told her yet, but when I do, I know she’s going to have tears in her eyes,” Combs said. “She’s just going to be so grateful.”
Pinson planned to take the ring to the Jet Food Store in Matthews, where Combs works as a manager, and return it to her personally.
“I just want to hand it to her so I know she’s got it and nobody else has to be involved,” he said.