Who says using a metal detector is a waste of time?

Definitely not Shelia Mackey of Highland, who recently got a phone call from an Ulster County man who happened to find something of hers that was lost decades ago. That phone call brought her to tears.

The last year has been extremely difficult for Mackey, just last year she lost just about everything when fire destroyed the apartment building she was living in. After losing decades of memories and being heartbroken, she received a phone call from a stranger two months later to tell her that he had found her 1960 Highland High School class ring. She was ecstatic saying,

"It was a miracle, I couldn’t have been happier. It just was the highlight of my day, my life. It brought tears to my eyes. He’s my angel."

That "angel" Mackey's referring to is another Highland resident Bob Bacchi, who found the class ring back in April of 2020 while he was searching for items with his metal detector. Bacchi found the class ring buried in the dirt and grass at Berean Park in Highland according to Rome Sentinel.

Bacchi, who started metal detecting about two years ago, has found numerous random items, "I always find rusty old nails, pull tabs, you always find a lot of pull tabs, but I don’t mind. I pick them up and put them in a pouch I carry on me." But in his mind, the high school ring by far has been his most valuable find.

After finding the ring, Bacchi brought it home, cleaned it up, and started to try and find its owner. Being a Highland resident, Bacchi's daughter started searching through Highland High School yearbooks for that year and came up with two names that seemed to fit the inscription on the ring, twin sisters, Sheila Mackey and Sharon Mackey.

They tried to track down the Mackey's but had no luck, so the ring sat unclaimed at their house. But that all changed in December when a local newspaper published a photo of Bacchi and the story of the ring and after a few weeks, Bacchi got a call from someone who studied genealogy and offered to help find the owner of the ring.

The work paid off and earlier this month, Bacchi was able to find Mackey and return the ring lost so many decades ago. But how did Mackey lose the ring? Bacchi said that Mackey told him that her then-teenage daughter liked to wear her jewelry and she believes she lost the ring at the park.

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