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Class Ring Returned To Daughter Of 1977 EPCHS Alum

EVERGREEN PARK, IL – An Evergreen Park Community High School class ring has been reunited with the family of its owner about 45 years after it was lost.

Libby Turner, daughter of the late Debbie Thiessen Brouckaert, picked up the ring earlier this week from a car dealership in Rockwall, Texas, where both the man who found it 22 years ago and the man who contacted EPCHS recently work.

Thiessen Brouckaert, who EPCHS confirmed graduated in 1977, died in 2019. Turner said her mother only lived in Evergreen Park during her high school years, and moved to Texas shortly after graduation.

“I remember her telling me about her high school ring, and how she lost it,” Turner said. “It makes sense she would lose it in the lake (Lake Tawakoni) because she lived right there.”

Turner said she was contacted by a man named Ben Daniel just hours after Chicago news outlets and EPCHS social media pages shared an item looking to find the owner of the ring. It had already been known that the ring belonged to Thiessen because her name of inscribed on the inside.

Daniel’s hobby is reuniting lost rings with their owners. When Turner first got a message from him on Facebook, she thought it was a scam.

“But when I went on his page and saw my mom’s ring, I googled it, started reading about it, and started balling,” she said.

The ring turned up in Lake Tawakoni, just outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area, in 2000 when a drought caused lake levels to be much lower than usual. The man who found it, Mark Jones, was looking for arrowheads at the time and has kept many of the items he found during the search.

It wasn’t until earlier this summer when he showed the ring to Randy Smith, a co-worker who contacted EPCHS about it.

“I’m so grateful,” Turner wrote on EPCHS’ Facebook page after meeting with Smith and Jones. “To have a piece of her back, and grateful for every hand involved in helping return it.”