Samaritans help former Wheaton resident find his father's 92-year-old gold ring

Former Wheaton resident Jack Robinson had lost his father's ring. It was Thursday evening, Aug. 4, at the final 2022 performance of the Wheaton Municipal Band in Memorial Park.

Robinson and his wife had picnicked on the grass with friends before the concert began. He remembers moving the ring to his little finger that evening to remind him to take a new medication when he returned home. This ring had marked his father's graduation from high school in 1930. His father had worn it for 63 years, and in memory of his dad, Robinson had worn it for 29 years more.

But while trying to stuff his folding chair back into its canvas bag after the concert, Robinson didn't notice the ring slip off his finger and fall into the dark grass.

Walking toward the exit, he realized the ring was missing. But it was impossible to find it in the darkness. Next morning, he returned to look for it, but again, no luck.

Dan Novak, a Wheaton Park District employee, saw him searching and asked what had happened. He promised that he and his men would keep an eye out for the ring that day.

A day later on Saturday morning, Robinson called his friend, Wheaton resident Mike Getz, to ask if he knew anyone who had a metal detector. In the early afternoon, called back to say that his friend, Roger Mason, had just purchased a metal detector to help Robinson find the ring. So, Mike, his wife, Carol, Roger and Jack went to Memorial Park Saturday afternoon, armed with the new metal detector.

Upon arrival, they discovered the Wheaton Beer & Seltzer Fest had filled the park with people. Park security let them in but said they had little chance of finding the ring among so many people. Even so, the four friends walked to the spot where Robinson thought he and his wife had sat two nights before.

Turning on the detector, they began scanning the grass.

After a few moments, out of the corner of his eye, Robinson saw a young woman bend over, straighten up, and take a couple steps toward them. "Is this what you are looking for?" she asked.

In her hand, she held the lost ring. Robinson was filled with amazement and gratitude.

"What's your name?" he asked. "Ellie," she replied. "Can I give you a hug?" he asked. She nodded, and he embraced her. Smiling, she said goodbye and walked away with her companions.

"I was embarrassed to ask her last name," Robinson said, "but I wish I knew who she was. She deserved more than a simple thank you. She found the most precious symbol of my father that I possess."

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