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N.J. couple searches wedding ring lost in Ohiopyle State Park

| Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 12:41 a.m.

What started as an adventure has turned into a search for a missing wedding ring for one New Jersey couple.

In July, Jim and Melissa Smith of Marlton went to the Laurel Highlands.

“We had a few days off and decided to go to the Laurel Highlands. We had never been there before, but had done some research and had found several things we wanted to see,” Melissa Smith said.

On July 8, the Smiths went to the Meadow Run Natural Water Slide in Ohiopyle State Park.

“We had seen it on YouTube, but it had rained the day before so it was running much faster than we had seen it in the video,” she said.

Jim Smith braved the slide despite the high water when, midway down, his wedding ring came off his hand.

“About halfway down where it bends on the left side, I spun around and the ring popped off. I'm 100 percent sure it stayed in the water,” he said.

The couple, married for 10 years, was shocked by the loss.

“The ring was so tight on his finger, he never in a million years thought it would fall off,” Melissa Smith said.

They looked for the ring to no avail. However, they did find many other treasures lost, including eyeglasses, bracelets, another man's wedding ring and a class ring from the University of Pittsburgh.

“We turned everything in to the park except for the class ring. I felt certain I could find its owner,” Melissa Smith said.

Melissa Smith said not only was she successful in finding the class ring's owner, but she was able to return it.

“He sent me flowers as a thank you with a very nice and sweet note,” she said. “It's a good feeling when you give someone back something that belongs to them.”

The Smiths are hoping someone will find their ring and return it. They are offering a $500 reward.

Melissa Smith described the ring as a platinum, plain comfort-fit band with an inscription inside. In order to make sure the ring is the real one, they are not releasing details about the inscription.

The couple has reached out to several organizations for help with finding the missing ring and said everyone has been very helpful so far, but they have had no luck.

“I'm still hanging on to hope it will be found,” Melissa Smith said.

Information about the ring has been posted on both the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau's Facebook page and the Ohiopyle Facebook page.

“The LHVB is happy to help this couple recover their lost ring and hope that the story has a happy ending. It's not unusual to hear that rings have been found sometimes years later. We've heard of other stories where good Samaritans in the Laurel Highlands have turned in wallets and other pieces of jewelry,” LHVB Vice President of Public Relations Julie Donovan said.

Jim Smith said it would mean a great deal to him to have the ring back.

“It's got a lot of sentimental value. We've been married for 10 years and it's something I would like to pass on to the kids, and it would just be amazing to get it back,” he said.

If anyone finds the ring, they are asked to contact the Smiths at 856-220-1049.

Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer.

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