- Associated Press - Saturday, December 26, 2015

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — After an exhaustive search, Dora Van Dyke thought the wedding band and anniversary ring her late husband Dennis gave her were history.

“Thirty-eight years of sentimental value,” the Hayden Lake woman said.

Ms. Van Dyke lost her soldered band and ring on Oct. 21 after she realized it was no longer in the jacket pocket she put it in earlier that day so she could wear gloves.

After more than a month of running ads in newspapers and online, filing reports with law enforcement, posting bulletins, checking pawn shops and prayer, Ms. Van Dyke said she began to lose hope that she would find the ring.

“Everybody told me that it was gone, to get over it,” she said.

But, on Dec. 3, the day after she tweaked one of her ads to describe the ring, her phone rang.

It was Randy Fraker from Twin Lakes, responding that he found the ring at a Hayden gas station where Ms. Van Dyke had been on Oct. 21.

“Miraculous,” said Ms. Van Dyke, describing the moment. “I couldn’t believe that someone would be so honest in this day and age. I was overjoyed.”

Mr. Fraker met Ms. Van Dyke in the parking lot of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office to return the ring to her.

“I gave him a reward of $200,” Ms. Van Dyke said. “He didn’t want it, but I made him take it. The ring has a lot of sentimental value that can’t be replaced.”

Ms. Van Dyke said the ring’s value is around $4,000. The wedding band that Dennis bought Dora in 1977 was soldered to a diamond setting he purchased for their 25th anniversary in 2002.

Dora said Dennis had a dry sense of humor and was referred to as the “Renaissance man” because he was handy in a variety of ways, including with automobiles and woodworking.

Mr. Fraker said he spotted the ring near a pump while filling his motorcycle.

“I wasn’t about to turn it in to the store,” he said. “I figured that it would disappear that way. So I put it in my saddlebag, brought it home and put it in a safe until I saw the ad. I figured that someone would be looking for it and really valued that ring. I knew that it would be important to somebody so I held onto it.

“I’m just glad that some other jackass didn’t find it and try to pawn it.”

Mr. Fraker said he never saw Van Dyke’s original ads and responded as soon as he saw the listing.

“I was brought up on old-school beliefs — you don’t screw people over,” Mr. Fraker said about returning the ring.

Mr. Fraker said returning the ring made him feel good, especially after hearing from Van Dyke what it meant to her and hearing her relatives settled in Idaho three years before it became a state.

“Returning the ring made me feel that she hadn’t lost her husband totally,” Mr. Fraker said.

The shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., occurred the day before Mr. Fraker connected with Ms. Van Dyke.

“I was saying that I needed something good to happen after that,” she said. “Getting the ring back restored my faith.”

___

Information from: Coeur d’Alene Press, https://www.cdapress.com

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