(MURRYSVILLE, Pa.) — A Pennsylvania woman will not have to buy herself a new diamond ring this Christmas thanks to the sharp eyes of two Salvation Army workers who spotted the woman’s ring in a pile of money thrown in the organization’s famed red kettle.
Lisa Hawkins, of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, was walking into a Macy’s department store Tuesday evening when she scooped a batch of loose change from the bottom of her pocketbook and tossed it into the red kettle outside the store, telling the kettle worker, “Every little bit helps.”
When Hawkins was getting ready for work the next morning, she reached into her same pocketbook to pull out two rings she had been keeping in there to take to be sized and noticed one, a diamond-and-gold ring her husband gave her more than 20 years ago for their 10th wedding anniversary, was missing.
“I knew immediately where my ring was,” Hawkins told ABC News. “When I was scooping up the loose change I scooped up my ring too.”
Hawkins, a neurology and neurosurgeon clinician at UPMC Mercy Hospital, did not tell her husband what happened but just began to call all The Salvation Army offices she could find.
With no one answering, Hawkins said she turned to local TV stations for help, thinking her lost ring saga might be a “human interest story” they could help her solve.
“A reporter from the local CBS affiliate responded around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, while I was at work,” Hawkins said.
That reporter, KDKA’s John Shumway, began making calls himself and discovered that Hawkins’ ring had
been found in the donation pile counted by Salvation Army Captains Christopher and Jennifer Blessing at the organization’s Braddock, Pennsylvania, chapter.
“It definitely stood out,” Jennifer Blessing told ABC News of seeing Hawkins’ ring among piles of cash and change. “It was a beautiful diamond-and-gold ring, so it stuck out like a sore thumb.”
Blessing said she and her husband were not sure if the ring was a donation or an accident, so they kept it safely aside.
When they got the call from Shumway, the Blessings made the trip to Mercy Hospital themselves that same day, Wednesday, to deliver the ring back to Hawkins in person.
“She was very grateful,” Blessing said of Hawkins.
Hawkins, meanwhile, had to explain the lost ring story to her husband, an ER physician, and their daughter, a veterinary student, who both saw the story first on the local news.
“My daughter said, ‘Mom, what you did was really stupid, but how you solved it was brilliant,’” Hawkins said.
There were moments of panic for Hawkins, she said, when she thought she had lost the sentimental ring for good, but she thought of her greater blessings.
“I kind of pulled myself in and said, ‘You have to look at what really matters in your life,’” Hawkins said. “It is a ring, and it’s a really expensive ring, but when I look at my life I have my mother, who is still alive. I have my husband, my daughter.”
Instead of putting the ring away so she does not lose it again, Hawkins is doing quite the opposite, wearing it proudly for a good cause.
“I’m keeping the ring on because as people come up to me and see it and ask about it, I tell them to go to a Salvation Army kettle and make a donation,” Hawkins said.
She is also, with her family, making a second, larger donation to The Salvation Army this year.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
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