“The reward was in the return,” Oklahoma couple returns late husband’s class ring to family

LAWTON, Okla. - Tiny little fingers.

"It's my daddy's, and he's in heaven,” Elias Finlay said.

Holding a tiny piece of heaven.

"I always have a piece of him. Here, here and here,” he said pointing to his head, his heart and a ring.

But for more than 20 years it was buried here at a park in Lawton. The class ring was once on the finger of little Elias's father, Lemuel.

"He looks just like Lem,” his mother Dawn Finlay said.

Lem, as they called him, was a helicopter medic. A big heart and a strong faith.

It was June 2016, and the Finlays were visiting family when ATV accident took Lem's life and ever since they've looked for small tokens or pieces of heaven that serve as reminders that Lem is still with them.

Anthony Marez and his wife Crystal look for reminders - hidden treasures of the past. It's a pastime they enjoy together. They've never really found anything of value until one day Anthony's metal detector made a distinct sound.

"It was a clear sound, so I dug it and flipped the dirt over. It was a dime,” Anthony said.

“Are you serious?” Dawn said. "So we have this thing within our family that we find dimes, and we say that that's sweet symbols from Lem from heaven, and that blows me away."

And just a few feet away from the dime was Lem's long lost class ring.

It was buried beneath the sand of what may have once been a volleyball pit. He told his wife Dawn he lost it while playing many years ago.

The ring, Lem's name, and everything it now stands for were perfectly preserved. So Anthony set out to find Lem and created a facebook page. It didn't take for a message to show up in Dawn's inbox.

"What? Are you kidding me? His class ring from high school? He lost that 20 years ago,” Dawn said.

That's why Dawn nominated Anthony and Crystal for Pay It Forward.

"The reward was in the return,” Anthony said.

"There's nothing that I could think of to repay you guys,” Dawn said. “You could have taken that ring and pawned it. You worked so hard above and beyond, to find us and to return Lem's ring to our family. We are just forever grateful."

"That's just a blessing seeing what it means to you guys,” Anthony said.

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