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Langdon teachers help find owner of class ring found in Oklahoma

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Langdon, ND (WDAZ TV) - A story spanning nearly a thousand miles.

A Langdon High School class ring showed up in a pile of dirt in Oklahoma.

Local teachers were able to track down the ring's owner, more than 30 years after he graduated.

Teachers in Langdon say they couldn't have done it 15 years ago. But using the magic of social media, they were able to reunite the ring with its owner almost instantly from four states away.

A unique message popped up on the Langdon Area School Facebook page Monday night. A woman was looking for the owner of a class ring she just found.

Darby Hart/Langdon Teacher: “They found it actually in a dirt pile in their yard, and this is in Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma's pretty far from Langdon, but that didn't stop teachers from hatching a plan.

Hart says, “Excited to see this message and start thinking how can we share this, get the word out, and try to get this person matched up with the owner of the ring.” 

The ring said "1981" on it. Longtime Langdon teacher and administrator Dennis Throndset got to work.

Dennis Throndset/Former Langdon teacher & Administrator: “The first thing that we'll look at are the yearbooks, and we can at least narrow it down then.”

Then teachers asked for more photos of the ring, to help in their search. And they reached out to a Langdon community Facebook page.

Hart says, “It had initials engraved on the inside, and then it also had Cardinals, and it had a wrestling image on the side of the ring.”

They had all the clues they needed. They knew he graduated in 1981. They knew he wrestled, and they knew his initials. Once they put that information on Facebook, it only took 15 minutes to find the owner of the ring.

Throndset says, “I think it's unbelievable.”

The ring belonged to Todd Heck. Heck lives in Oklahoma, less than a half hour from where the ring was found. He tells WDAZ the ring was stolen when his home was robbed in 2008.

Todd Heck/Reunited with class ring: “I never figured why they took it. It's probably not of any value to anyone but me.”

Heck says he never though he'd see the ring again, adding, “You kind of put it in a box and put it away and don't think about it too much. All of a sudden, one day it's gone and you know what, kind of a piece of me is gone.”

But thanks to some sleuthing back in his home town, he'll soon be reunited with a treasured memento.

Hart says, “It was just really neat to be in Langdon and to help this happen in Oklahoma. Social Media's very cool.”

Heck tells me the ring was found only a mile or two from where he was living when it was stolen. He says he plans to collect his ring tonight.

Adam Ladwig

Adam Ladwig joined WDAZ as the Devils Lake bureau reporter in January, 2012. Prior to that he reported for KDUH-TV in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Adam has won multiple awards during his time at WDAZ, including an Eric Sevareid award and a Regional Emmy Award as part of team coverage during the search for Anthony Kuznia.  A Colorado native, Adam graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Journalism. He misses the Rocky Mountains, but the kind people of North Dakota more than make up for that. He is thrilled to be in the Lake Region, telling stories that matter. In his spare time, Adam is usually futilely attempting to get in shape, or cheering for his beloved Denver Broncos.