Donation of Rings to Salvation Army Inspires Second Act of Generosity

A widow slipped her diamond engagement ring and a wedding band into a Salvation Army red kettle in honor of her late husband.
A widow slipped her diamond engagement ring and a wedding band into a Salvation Army red kettle in honor of her late husband. –AP

Unnoticed amid the clink of nickels and dimes, a $1,850 engagement ring and wedding band landed in a Salvation Army red kettle near North Station two Wednesdays ago.

Stunned Salvation Army officials later opened the bucket to find the rings and a note asking that they be sold to provide toys for children who sorely need them.

“In all seasons, my husband was a giver. I especially remember his joy in giving at Christmas Time, especially to those in need. To honor his memory, I donate this ring,’’ the note read. “I’m hoping there’s someone out there who made lots of money this year and will buy the ring for ten times its worth.’’

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Last Friday, another Massachusetts widower and former bellringer for the Salvation Army answered her call, offering the organization $21,000. She did not want to keep the rings, she said, but hoped instead they would be reunited with their original owner.

“I want to be involved in this because it’s about the spirit of Christmas, the spirit of giving,’’ she said. “My wish is that the rings can be returned to this woman who gave them up in memory of her husband for the sake of children at Christmas.’’

She also told Salvation Army officials that she was touched by the first widow’s story, because she had lost her own husband.

“I miss him dearly, but my husband would be happy that I am doing this.’’

The $21K offer was one of nine inquiries made after word of the original wedding ring donation spread, according to Drew Forster, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Salvation Army. Forster said he hopes the organization will be able locate the owner of the rings, who has not yet come forward.

“All of us would love to meet her and say thank you to her,’’ Forster said. “I hope she is gratified by the response and the way it honors her husband.’’

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