Sandie Czarnecki never thought she’d see her late-husband’s wedding ring again.
She had worn it every day since he passed away last year, but on Wednesday, it slipped off her hand while she was running errands on her way to visit the cemetery.
She was devastated when she realized it was missing. She retraced her steps but didn’t find the ring.
“I went to the cemetery and when I was there I said, ‘I lost your ring. There it goes. Should I let go now?'” Czarnecki recalled, her voice choked with emotion.
What she didn’t know that day was that the ring had fallen off her hand just inside the front doors of the Valu Home Centers store on Rossler Avenue.
Employee Nick Lamoureux spotted it when he was walking into work to begin his Wednesday shift, but he didn’t think much of it.
“I just thought it was like a gasket to a faucet,” he told News 4.
Lamoureux put it in his pocket, planning to return it to the proper place in the store, but he forgot about it and didn’t give it another thought until he was home.
When he took a closer look, he realized he had not picked up a piece of hardware.
“I found the 14k (stamp). I know we don’t sell 14 karat washers here,” Lamoureux.
Knowing then that he had someone’s wedding ring, Lamoureux made it his mission to set a good example for his daughter and return it to the rightful owner.
He says pawning it was not an option.
“Never once did it run through my mind that I was actually going to go and sell it,” he told News 4.
I wouldn’t be able to live with myself with that.”
Lamoureux spoke to News 4 Saturday morning to try to get help tracking down the ring’s owner. He asked us not to show the initials and date inscribed on the inside of the ring, so he could make sure whoever claimed it could give him the details to prove the ring was theirs.
Within hours of the story being put on the News 4 Facebook page, Czarnecki’s daughter saw the post and helped her mom contact the station.
Sunday morning, Czarnecki and Lamoureux met in the parking lot of the Valu Home Centers store where she had lost the ring.
For good measure, she told Lamoureux exactly what was inscribed inside.
She also showed him her wedding ring, bearing a matching inscription.
Both wedding rings had once been decorated on the outside with engraved forget-me-knots. Now, both are smooth, having been worn down with wear over 53 years of marriage.
Czarnecki says she’ll never stop carrying her husband’s ring around. “Always. Won’t part with it,” she said.
But, she points out, she will be wearing it on a chain around her neck in the future, to prevent losing it again.
“Right here, to keep it with me,” she said, showing our camera the chain she already had around her neck, ready to hold the ring.
Czarnecki says she thinks her husband was watching over her when Lamoureux was the one to find the ring that day.
Lamoureux says he thinks so, too.
“Come to find out, they live on my dad’s street,” he said. “It’s just meant to be.”