NEW JERSEY (WTXF) - It’s been decades since a local man fought in World War II and lost his class ring. Tonight, the ring was returned to the family.
Most of the seats were empty in Audubon High School's auditorium. The crowd was small but the tale told was Herculean.
It starts with a man, Edward Dodds, Audubon High School class of 1938. He joined the military during World War II and ended up in the South Pacific where he lost his class ring.
It went missing for 73 years until a poor farmer named Liam was digging in his garden in Popua, New Guinea , and found it. It was gold. He cherished it, but happened to meet an Australian named John Hucknell, who convinced him to look for its rightful owner. In a strange coincidence, Hucknell's niece lives in South Jersey.
"He took one look at the ring, and new exactly what it was. It had 1938 on one side, Audubon High School on the top, and the initials EDD on the inside," she told FOX 29.
Hucknell, from the other end of the world, connected with Audubon's alumni association and the hunt was on, starting with a 1938 yearbook.
"Took the initials and made the associations between "male, EDD" and found the only person that could fit was Edward Dodds."
They found 6 listings for Dodds in the phone book, including Rich Dodds.
Edward Dodd is Rich's father, who died 20 years ago. Today, in a prsentation with Rich's extended family there he was officially given his father's ring.
92-year-old Matilda Canning is Rich's aunt.
She didn't know there was a ring until now. Her brother-in law's ring is now back with the family, thanks to a small group of strangers determined to get it home.
"The people got together and they were just able to make that connection. It's a miracle," she said.