That day on St. Simon's Island nearly three years ago, Brandon Norman never thought he would see his class ring again. While playing football on the beach, it slipped off his finger and was gone forever.
He even bought a replacement because he still had two years of high school left. Brandon graduated last spring with the surrogate ring in place. But ask him now and he'll say it's the original on his finger.
Brandon Norman poses with his recently-returned class ring.
Photo by Kristopher Wells
Brandon was reunited with his ring early this Fall when Buddy Webb, a Brunswick man, was searching for old coins in the beach sand with his metal detector.
"I lost my class ring back whenever I was in high school. I kind of know how it is to have lost it," Mr. Webb said. "When you can find something and return it to somebody, it makes it even better."
Brandon was glad to get his old ring back, and now that he has two, he knows he'll never be lacking in the class ring department.
"I kid my mom about it saying if I lose one I can still have another one," he said.
Mr. Webb has recently returned two class rings. The second was a graduate of Brunswick High who lost his ring in 1996. Several times a week Mr. Webb scours area beaches for buried treasure. Brandon said the finds were a result of recent storms.
"I just thought it was weird because it was during all the hurricanes, and that's what brought it up on shore, I guess," Brandon said.
Mr. Webb, who works for the federal law enforcement training center in Brunswick, was just happy to help. He even uses his metal detector to assist local police on occasion.
"It's worth more than any of the value of the ring could have been to me," Mr. Webb said.
After locating Briarwood on the internet Mr. Webb called the school which gave him Brandon's phone number.
"I gave him my mailing address, and the man wouldn't even let me pay him," said Brandon's father, Marvin.
"I had called and talked to his dad, and the first thing he said was 'Do you know how long it's been since he lost that thing?'" Mr. Webb said. "That's when he told me that Brandon had lost it about the same time that he started having the dizzy spells or fainting spells."
Brandon was diagnosed with a brain tumor during his senior year. His father said he is in school at Augusta Tech now and that doctors are keeping a close eye on him.
"Nothing's showed up right now, but the type stuff he's got can show up any time," Mr. Norman said. "He's going to school, and everything's working out pretty good for him right now."
Mr. Webb was definitely glad to bring a smile to the face of the Norman family, especially after what they've been through.
"I'm glad that he's doing good and was able to get his ring back because I know how it is to have lost one," he said. "I've tried many a time to recover mine and never have."