Engraved in the ring are a few facts about its owner.
Her name? Laura Carl.
Her high school? Central Montcalm High School.
Her graduation year? 1987.
What isn't certain: Where is Laura Carl now — and does she want her jewelry back?
Nobody knows for sure how the silver class ring ended up in a firefighter's boot. It happened last August during the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Fill-the-Boot-Drive. Pasco County Professional Firefighters, Local 4420, were staged at intersections to collect money.
At some point the class ring ended up in the change collected at Mile Stretch Drive and U.S. 19.
Penny McCaffrey, whose husband, Daniel, is a captain with Pasco County Fire Rescue, said she guessed maybe Laura had kept the ring in her car and accidentally gathered it up with a handful of change she put in the boot.
At first, they couldn't tell what the small, faint engravings said. One of the firefighters held the ring up close to a bathroom light and saw the clues.
Mrs. McCaffrey ended up as the ring's caretaker. She put it in a Ziploc bag and started searching for Laura Carl.
She Googled the name and found no matches, realizing Laura may have married and have a different last name by now. She ran a few lost-and-found classified ads; a mother and daughter responded to one ad, but it wasn't their ring, She even called up Central Montcalm High School in Stanton, Mich.; nobody there had the time to help her.
Today, about 60 firefighters will once again take up their posts at intersections across the county to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Which got Penny McCaffrey, who helps coordinate the event, thinking about the stranger's class ring sitting on her desk.
"I feel so bad," she said. "I'm sure this person is like, 'Oh my God, where's my ring?' And here it is."
Jodie Tillman can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6247.