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Father who wore his son's class ring after the teenager was killed in a car crash is devastated when he loses the ring
Date published: 7/25/2012
By CATHY DYSON
The last thing Tommy Oliver did
It was more than a piece of jewelry. The ring was a connection between the Stafford County man and his son, a teenager killed in a car crash almost 26 years ago.
"I really felt like he was still close to me when I wore it," said Oliver. "I never went out of this house without it on."
Oliver lost his son's class ring on July 1, the Sunday after extreme thunderstorms knocked out electricity in the Fredericksburg region.
He's almost certain he had the ring on when he went to Berea Baptist Church that morning.
Afterward, he and his wife, Lucy, drove into Fredericksburg and got gas, then went to Applebee's for lunch. They came back to their home off U.S. 1 in Stafford, where he watched the NASCAR race.
"I reckon it was 4 or 5 o'clock, or maybe 6, and I looked up and said, 'My ring's gone.'"
Oliver, 75 and a retired truck driver, hasn't been the same since. He and his wife "pretty well tore up this house" in search of the ring, he said. They've retraced his steps on that Sunday and checked with the various businesses they visited, to see if anyone returned a ring.
Lucy's granddaughter crawled under all the pews at their church, checking for the ring.
Scott Covington, their pastor at Berea, loaned them a metal detector, and they've gone over their yard more times than they can count.
Covington contacted The Free Lance-Star about a story in hopes that someone found the ring, but isn't sure what to do with it.
"Tommy is devastated, and he and Lucy are very dear folks," Covington said.
When the pastor heard the story behind the ring, he said: "It just grabbed me. That little ring he wears, that's what he hangs on to."
Oliver and his family were living in Suffolk in 1986. Brett Ashley Oliver was the third of four children of Tommy Oliver and his first wife, who has since died.