June 17 (UPI) -- A Wisconsin college employee using his metal detector on the campus found a high school class ring underground that turned out to have been lost 45 years earlier.
Mike Counter, director of media relations for St. Norbert College, said he was using his metal detector behind the De Pere school's Bergstrom Hall when he found the 1976 Holy Cross High School class ring under about 4 to 5 inches of soil.
"I've been detecting for over 30 years, and I never found a class ring, never. And I've always wanted to find one, and I thought finally I found a class ring," Counter told WBAY-TV.
Andy Caldie, a researcher at St. Norbert College, helped Counter determine that Holy Cross High School had merged with another Catholic school that recently closed down.
Counter discovered the school had been run by the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, and he was able to get in touch with Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp, the school's former principal.
Hagelskamp used school records and the initials on the ring, "JRD," to identify the likely owner as John Daciolas, a 1976 graduate who now lives in California.
"Providentially, John had been in contact with us in 2018, so his contact information was up to date," Hagelskamp told the Chicago Tribune. "I was able to send him an email asking if he had by any chance lost his class ring."
Daciolas said the email was a welcome surprise. He said he had been walking to his dorm at St. Norbert in 1976 when he dropped his ring into the deep snow and was unable to find it.
Daciolas received his ring in the mail this week and said it still fits on his finger.