FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) — A DeKalb County man now has a treasured item back that was lost for nearly 35 years – and social media helped him find it.
David Barnes graduated from Fort Payne High School in 1981. He says he spent three years in the service and got out in 1985. Shortly after that, he lost his class ring.
“It was like a part of me was missing like a void, because that’s something my mom bought me,” Barnes told News 19. “It’s something I carried through the military with me. [I] got to go to Germany and I made it back with it. It wasn’t long after that that it was lost, but it broke my heart for a long time.”
Barnes says he first noticed it was missing after a day at Little River Canyon.
He said he grabbed a flashlight and went to Little Falls at night, walked around the areas he was at, but could not find it.
After nearly 35 years, a spark of hope appeared.
Barnes said he attended his 40th year class reunion and was browsing a Facebook group and noticed an older post from 2018.
“I see a picture of a ring and it says somebody is missing this,” Barnes said of the social media post. “I told my wife, I said, ‘I think that’s my ring.’ I contacted the lady that posted that.”
After chasing down multiple people connected on social media, he found the man who found his ring in the water years before.
He said it was found while the man was cleaning off his mask, and went underwater to see if it was clear when he saw a sparkle. That’s how he found the ring. The man kept the ring safe, waiting for the rightful owner.
“So for about 20 to 25 years, it’s been locked up in his safe, but it stayed about 15 years in the water out there at the canyon,” Barnes noted.
He said it’s weird to have his treasure back.
“It doesn’t fit my ring finger [anymore],” Barnes said. “It has to go on the pinky. But just to have that ring back on my finger after 36, possibly 37 years.”
Barnes said he’s grateful for the glimmer of hope this story shows.