Somerset High School Ring Found and Returned 45 Years Later
If you've been searching for a feel-good story lately, then take a seat and grab a cup of hot cocoa. This one will warm your heart and just in time for the holidays.
Somerset's Alison and John Viana have spent most, if not all, of their lives as town residents and even went to school together at Somerset High School (now Somerset Berkley Regional High School). The Vianas were your classic high school sweethearts who defied the stresses of life and have been married ever since.
The couple began dating back in 1979 and have been going strong ever since. Chivalrous gentleman that he is, John offered her his class ring and asked her to be his sweetheart. Fast forward 45 years and the Somerset couple is just as happy as they were the day they met.
One year after becoming a high school couple, in 1980, the couple visited Island Park Beach in Portsmouth, Rhode Island for a little swimming adventure. If Alison would have removed his ring before jumping into the ocean, this story would have never existed, but Murphy's Law had other plans and the ring was swept away, never to be found again.
This is where the story gets good.
"Forty-five years later, some woman by the name of Gabby Arsenault had emailed me," Alison said. "Her 11-year old son was metal detecting and beachcombing Portsmouth Island Park when he got a ping on his detector."
Arsenault and her son were enjoying a day at the beach with some clam cakes from Flo's when the metal detector began beeping like crazy. The boy dug up the ring and the unfathomable part was that this was his very first find ever.
"His mom put it aside, got it cleaned up and found out it belonged to someone who went to Somerset High School," Alison said. "She realized that she could go into the archives at Somerset High and wouldn't you know it, it was my husband's ring that he gave to me for keepsake."
If you look closely, you can still see her husband's name on the inside of the ring where it was laser etched.
Arsenault the proceeded to give the ring to Dr. Susan M. Brelsford, the high school principal over at Somerset Berkley. She then called the rightful owners and it was returned to John Viana on Monday morning.
"I also worked at the high school for 22 years as well, so this is all full circle," Alison said. "We lost it, and now it's back."
Viana said her husband was excited, but mostly shocked when he found out his ring had been found.
"We've been married for 38 years," she said. "September 21st, 1984 is our anniversary and my love for my husband could never be replaced."