Kevin Bonham, Published December 25 2013
Treasure in the snow: Long-lost class ring turns up after 20 years
The ring was found in a snow pile along a Langdon, N.D., street on what would have been the 34th birthday of her younger brother, Mike.
It’s a day on which she has mourned since 1990, when Mike, who was 11, was killed in a car accident on their way to church in Edinburg. Michele, who was 15 at the time, was driving the car.
“Every year on his birthday, I just wake up with this yucky feeling, like I don’t even want to get out of bed,” she said Tuesday. “After this happened, I told my mom it’s about time I stop mourning his death and start celebrating his life.”
Michele had just graduated from Edinburg when she exchanged class rings with her then-boyfriend. However, just a short time later, the boyfriend lost the ring while working on a cattle farm near Langdon.
Fast-forward 20 years to Monday morning, when Michele received a text message from a friend who works at radio station KNDK in Langdon. He told her someone had called to say he had found a 1993 class ring that might be hers. He passed along the telephone number of the person who found it. She immediately dialed it, reaching Gary Haugland, who lives near McVille.
The description matched, right down to the “Michele K. Olson” engraved on the inside.
Haugland had driven to Langdon on Saturday for a family Christmas party, he said.
They parked their car, went inside and then came back out to haul more packages into the house.
“There was the ring, sitting right on top of the snow, right beside the vehicle on top of a windrow of snow left by a snowplow,” he said.
He contacted the radio station Monday morning, to see if people there could help find the owner.
After talking with Michele by phone, he agreed to mail it to her. But later that day, Michele and her husband, Steve, decided to drive to McVille to pick it up.
“It was quite awesome to see her and to see how excited she was to get it back, how everything just seemed to fall into place,” Haugland said. “Talk about a Christmas miracle.”
The Olson sisters – Michele, Mya Ganssle and Mandi Olson – believe the ring’s discovery is some sort of sign or message from their brother.
“From the moment she got the news, her whole outlook on life has changed,” Ganssle said. “She no longer sees this day as being a dreadful one but more so of happiness, knowing that our brother is really still with us and wants this day and Christmas to be magical.”