NEELYVILLE, MO (KFVS) - What sparks a memory? For some it's a smell or a picture, but for one Neelyville woman her high school years were all wrapped up in one special piece of jewelry.
She thought it was gone forever, but an old acquaintance gave her the surprise of a lifetime.
Certain momentos hold more than sentimental value. They're a connection to your past. They're a way to proudly remember accomplishments in a young life and a symbol of growth.
For Sheri Gilmore, her high school class ring was that special piece.
"In 1997 I took it off my hand and put it on my watch band with some other rings and thought I had laid it in the back seat of a car and when I went to get it out it wasn't there, it was gone. Of course I was heartbroken," Sheri said.
Sheri says she retraced her steps and even checked local stores.
"I checked the pawn shops for about six months after I lost it. Never found it and never thought it would come home," she said.
The ring reminded her of high school, but she says it was also a special gift.
Sheri says her single mother had to work overtime to afford the black onyx stone she so desperately wanted.
"Most importantly it symbolizes the struggles my mom went through to even get the ring," she said.
But after 16 years, an unexpected letter gave her reason to hope.
After high school, Sheri worked as a camp counselor.
The then director of the camp, Mark Gillispie, was recently going through old boxes when he struck gold...literally!
Mark, with the help of his teenage son, was able to find Sheri and return her ring all the way from St. Louis.
"You did something for me that really meant a lot," Sheri said. "And something that I never would have thought would happen to me. Because when I have luck it's bad luck. But this time it was good luck."
Sheri says she's been talking to Mark and plans to meet him for lunch in St. Louis to catch up.
She says she can't wait to thank him in person.