A class ring recovered more than 22 years after being lost provided an example for some local residents that it’s a small world after all.
Sloan and Alana Rogers didn’t know Daniel and Amber Shepherd, but they had plenty of mutual friends through Facebook. Those acquaintances and relations proved invaluable when it came to Sloan getting back the class ring he lost 22 years ago less than a year after graduating.
“I didn’t even mean to get a class ring,” explained Sloan, a graduate of Daniel Boone High School in Gray.
He explained that his best friend, the late Jimmy Nelson, persuaded him to purchase a class ring.
“Jimmy and I were best friends since we were seven years old,” Sloan said. “We were always together, and close like brothers.”
When he lost the ring hardly a year after they graduated, Sloan told his buddy that it had been wasted money to buy the school memento.
“I was moving in 1990,” he said, adding that the ring was probably lost during his move. He didn’t even realize the ring was lost for several years.
Finding the ring again after so many years was bittersweet in one respect.
Sloan said his friend, Jimmy, died at age 30 several years ago. Sloan would have liked for his friend to have still been around for the remarkable story of how the ring came back into his life.
In reality, Sloan had long ceased to think much about the lost ring.
He and his wife, Alana, an Elizabethton native, now reside in Alana’s hometown with their children, Shanae, Sloan Jr., Caden and Ava.
“I hadn’t thought about that ring in years,” he said. “I just assumed it was gone.”
That’s when a Facebook post by Daniel and Amber Shepherd began to get the attention of some mutual acquaintances of the two couples.
“This was actually my second attempt using Facebook to find the ring’s owner,” explained Amber. “I made a post about the ring several years ago when we were living in Indiana.”
Daniel said they also pursued the logical course of contacting Sloan’s high school but that no one at Daniel Boone seemed interested in helping with the search.
The ring also traveled with the couple to Houston, Texas, before they moved back to Elizabethton two years ago with their children, Luke, Olivia and Noah.
Amber, who graduated from Hampton High School, acquired the ring many years ago when she was 13 years old from the father of one of her friends.
“My friend’s daddy worked on cars, and he found it in the front seat of a car,” she explained.
“His daughter and I passed it around,” Amber said. “I took it home and kept it in my jewelry box for all these years, always wondering who the ring belonged to.”
She had a few clues.
“Based on the size of the ring, I knew it belonged to a huge dude,” she said.
Sloan, laughing, agreed with that assessment. “I used to wrestle in high school,” he said.
The ring also bore the words “Sloan” and “Daniel Boone High School.”
A few weeks ago, Amber posted a photo of the ring on Facebook asking for information that might lead her to the ring’s owner.
Almost immediately, mutual Facebook friends took notice.
Angie Presnell, a friend of Amber’s husband, Daniel, saw the Facebook post.
“She said that the ring had to belong to Sloan Rogers,” Amber recalled.
Another friend shared the photo with Sloan’s wife, Alana.
As it dawned on her what the post represented, Alana became very excited.
“After 22 years of searching it came down to a post on Facebook of the ring,” she said.
“This post was only up for two hours when I came across the photo. One comment led to finding a piece of my husband’s high school memories which he thought was lost forever.”
Sloan recalled the moment he found out that the long-lost ring had been found.
He said his wife burst into the room and told him she had found his ring.
He didn’t believe her at first, but then she told him she was in touch with the people with the ring via Facebook.
Considering he had been ambivalent about acquiring the ring in the first place, Sloan rejoiced at getting the ring back.
“It really did put a smile on my face,” he said.
It didn’t, however, put the recovered item on his ring finger.
“It only fits on my pinkie finger these days,” Sloan joked.
A few weeks ago, Sloan and Daniel arranged to meet for the return of the ring.
“It was just super cool to be able to get his ring back to him,” Amber said.
Even more remarkable, it only took a couple of hours after Amber made the post before she was in contact with Alana.
“This post was only up for two hours when I came across the photo,” Alana said. “One comment led to finding a piece of my husband’s high school memories which he thought was lost forever.”
The moment was a special one for the couple.
“As I showed my husband the photo of his ring, I saw all of the wonderful memories he had from high school come flooding back,” Alana said.
It’s one of the few mementos he can claim from his high school years.
“My husband does not have many pieces — yearbooks or photos — from school,” she said, noting that makes the ring even more special.
“We both were excited to finally have this case closed,” Alana said.
They thanked Amber for keeping the ring safe all these years, and also expressed their gratitude to Daniel for his help in getting the ring back into Sloan’s hands.
“I’m so glad we found him,” Amber said. “We have been looking at that ring for years.”
Alana was touched by the remark.
“That comment just made my day,” Alana said.
As it turned out, the two couples also discovered other Facebook connections, including the fact that one of Daniel’s cousins is a Facebook friend of Sloan’s wife, Alana.
“It’s a small world,” Sloan said.