When Travis Strickland began searching for a new hobby, little did he know it would help him find a lost memento.
For about eight months, Strickland, owner of Studio Designs Printing, has become an avid metal detector.
He was introduced to the modern treasure-hunting hobby by a friend of his. After accompanying his friend on different metal detecting excursions, Strickland decided to buy a metal detector of his own.
"He found some really neat things, and it was interesting to see what was hidden underneath the ground that you'd never be able to find otherwise," he said.
Strickland and his friend have unearthed coins such as an 1870 silver-seated liberty quarter and an assortment of old jewelry.
One piece of jewelry in particular immediately caught Strickland's eye.
"My buddy was in town for a wedding, and we did some metal detecting at different places and found some good stuff and I thought I'd take a chance in looking for something I lost 25 years ago."
Strickland was referring to his Georgia Military College class ring that he lost in 1989.
He can still recall the very moment the ring slipped off his finger.
"It was back when Day's Inn used to be Terrace Inn and they used to have a weight room there," he said. "My friends and I used to go there to work out afterschool sometimes."
On this particular evening, Strickland said as he and his friend were walking in the parking lot, they realized that his friend's wallet was in his gym bag. While at the car, Strickland reached into his gym bag to retrieve the wallet, and that's when it happened.
"I can still see it as if it happened yesterday," he said. "It was like everything was in slow motion."
He tossed the wallet to his friend and his class ring flew off his finger and sailed in the air.
"I saw it hit the top of a car, bounce then go over the curb into a little parking island."
Strickland and his friend searched the area until dark, but found nothing. The ring that represented fond memories for him was lost, but not forgotten.
"It was my class ring and it had special meaning to me, but there was nothing I could do about it so I just accepted it was lost."
When Strickland suggested to his friend that they use their metal detectors to search for the lost class ring, he said it was a shot in the dark.
"I really didn't think we would find it. The area has been landscaped and has changed after all these years. I didn't think it would still be there but it was worth a shot," Strickland said.
After getting permission from the manager of Day's Inn, the two set out to hunt for a piece of personal history.
"We were probably there for maybe five minutes and we immediately got a signal," he said.
After moments of digging, Strickland says he could see the outline of the ring.
"I knew it was it before we even dug it up."
Buried 5 to 6 inches in the ground was Strickland's GMC class ring.
He said the ring still fits and he has no intentions of letting it out of his sight.
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