- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 1, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A religious ring commemorating a Michigan man’s immigration to the U.S. has been returned to its rightful owner after it had been missing for about 20 years.

A Kent County Road Commission crew discovered the cherished ring belonging to 70-year-old Abraham Joshua of Grand Rapids while performing work on a drainage pipe beneath his driveway. One of the workers knocked on Joshua’s door Tuesday morning to see if the ring was his.

Joshua told The Grand Rapids Press (https://bit.ly/1I42i8W ) that the gold ring is symbolic of his Christian faith and serves as a reminder of his decision to leave Pakistan, saying it became increasingly difficult to live there as a Christian.

Joshua left for the U.S. in 1981, flying into Chicago and eventually making his way to Michigan. He later asked the owner of a jewelry shop in Chicago to personalize the ring, which has a cutout out of a cross.

“Having brown skin … people automatically think you’re different and wonder if you’re Muslim or Sikh,” Joshua said. “I’m a Christian, and the ring says that without me saying it.”

Joshua estimates he lost the ring sometime during the late 1980s or early 1990s as he was working in his front yard. Michael Raisch, one of the workers, said it was by chance that they found the ring.

After the ring was returned, Joshua offered to get lunch for the workers or gift cards for dinner with their families. But the workers politely declined. There’s a general policy at the road commission against crews taking gifts of monetary value, maintenance director Jerry Byrne said.

“Thanks is just enough,” Raisch said. “That’s all we ever want, and most of the time, when people call, we get complaints.”

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Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, https://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids

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