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Ring Returned To Owner After It Winds Up In Donation Kettle

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – On her way home to Murrysville last night, Mercy Hospital OR nurse Lisa Hawkins decided to stop by Macy's in Monroeville and so a little Christmas shopping.

As she approached the store's entrance she saw the Salvation Army volunteer ringing her bell and thought of hearing on KDKA radio that every little bit helps.

"So as I was walking toward the kettle, I was scooping the change out of my purse and threw it in there," she said, "and said to the person, 'every little bit helps.'"

Turns out Lisa Hawkins had just donated a lot more than just a few coins.

As the Salvation Army volunteers were emptying the kettle back at headquarters they found a gold diamond ring.

Jennifer Blessing says they immediately wondered, "Is it real? Is it supposed to be in there, or did somebody lose something."

At 4 a.m. Wednesday, Lisa was getting ready for work when she went to grab her rings out of her purse.

"Because I was going to get them sized," she said. "I went into the purse and found one of the rings, but the 10-year anniversary that my husband gave me was scooped up and is in the kettle."

She immediately starting calling Salvation Army locations and leaving messages on answering machines.

Lisa got the ring on her 10th anniversary, 24 years ago and estimates its value at $10,000.
When asked what her husband though, Lisa said, "he doesn't know yet."

As of midday she had not yet told Jim about the incident.

It turns out it will be a story the couple can laugh about in the future.

A call by KDKA to the Salvation Army found out that a ring had been found at one of the regional collection sites and we gave Hawkins the phone number to call.

"I talked to the Salvation Army a few minutes ago and they have found a ring in Braddock," she added.

Jennifer and Chris Blessing found the ring and returned it to Lisa.

The Salvation Army gets about 70 percent of its annual program budget from the red kettles.
They are used to getting some strange things amidst the contributions

"Mostly by accident," Blessing said. "We get a lot of buttons, hearing aid batteries, pocket lint, Chuck E. Cheese tokens."

But rarely do they find a keepsake like Lisa's ring.

"Being a woman who loves jewelry, I know how much those rings mean to her," said Jennifer Blessing. "So I'm glad we could get it back to her."

For the Blessings, the return was blessing enough, but Lisa says a follow-up donation will be on the way -- and it won't be purse bottom change.

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