After losing her class ring 28 years ago, Jenny Neider said she was pretty surprised when a Kuna man sought her out on Facebook trying to return her ring.
Neider, a Kuna High School graduate, lost her class ring around 1990 on the Avalon Street property of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Church, which once hosted baseball and softball games. Neider knew her ring was out there, but had no hope of finding it.
David Ross found the ring after a tiring day of metal detecting around Kuna. Ross told Neider her ring was buried under 5 inches of dirt
“I’d already been out detecting quite a bit that day, I was getting tired, you know, getting up and down, and I almost didn’t dig that signal because gold rings up (the same as) pull tabs on cans,” Ross said. “I was already tired of digging junk and once I got the dirt out of the ground and was able to really hone in on the signal, I started seeing a class ring. Boy was I glad I dug.”
Neider met David Ross in his home the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 28. Neider’s class ring, boasting a purple stone and the jersey numbers of the sports she played, was displayed with 12 other rings Ross has found. Ross was able to find Neider because her name was engraved on the ring.
Ross has been using his metal detector throughout Kuna for almost a year. Ross’s wife gave him his first metal detector for Christmas.
Since he was a child, Ross always had a desire to collect old coins, which lead to his metal detecting hobby. That was the goal, Ross said, to find old coins.
“I didn’t expect to find the jewelry that I find,” Ross said.
He has found a few old coins here and there, but he’s mostly found scrap metal. And, occasionally, Ross has found rings, single earrings, a necklace, a bracelet, rusted boy scout pins, decorative pins, and a military uniform button.
All these items are displayed in a lighted glass case in Ross’s living room, showcasing what he hopes to be family legacy of sorts. In the case, on the bottom self, is his bucket list of items he hopes to find with his metal detector. So far, Ross has been able to cross a few items on that list, but he’s has added a few as well, such as a “heart heel” that prostitutes used to wear on the heel of their boots.
Of course Neider’s class ring was not officially on that bucket list, but it was a pleasant surprise for Ross to find it and be able to give it back to Neider. This is the first time Ross has been able to return an item he’s found to its owner in person.
Ross found a graduation cap tassel at the middle school, which used to be the high school. Ross approached Kuna High School staff for help tracking down the owner. They looked through old yearbooks and found out the owner of the tassel who was living in Salt Lake City. The school is mailing the tassel to its owner.
Whenever he finds something of sentimental value, like the graduation tassel or Neider’s class ring, Ross tries to find the item’s owner. That, Ross said, is part of responsible and respectable metal detecting.
“If you’re going to do it, you need to be an ambassador of the hobby, as they call it,” Ross said. “You need to be respectful of the area you’re hunting. When you get a target, your goal is not only to get the target but leave the grounds the same as it looked when you got there, (to) respect the property you’re on.”
Ross always gets permission to detect when he can, including public parks.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church ball field is one of Ross’s preferred spots to walk and scan. He also likes schools, parks, other churches, like the Kuna United Methodist Church and Kuna’s historic railway stop, where he found a huge railroad tie with historic spikes. Ross said the plan is to dig it up and get it to the Kuna History Center.
Ross also wants to search in the grange’s yard and early Kuna homestead sites. Ross said he has permission to use his metal detector on the property where the stagecoach crossing used to be. It is a private home now, but Ross said the owner has given him permission.
And, if Ross finds something of value on someone’s private property, Ross said the property owner has first claim.
Ross had to contact a few people in order to get Neider’s ring back to her. Finally, Neider’s cousin and nephew forwarded Ross’s picture of the class ring to Neider.
“I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, somebody found my ring,’” Neider said. “I knew it was out there, but I thought, ‘There’s no way I’m going to find it in this field.”
Neider tried to offer Ross money for his trouble, but Ross declined.
“It’s a gift in my heart, getting to give it back to you,” Ross said to Neider. “You fulfilled a bucket list for me too.”