Marion County man reunited with Marine ring passed down from his father and uncle

Updated: Nov. 12, 2020 at 11:36 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The search for metal parts in one man’s yard led to a son being reunited with his dad’s Marine ring after being lost for nearly a decade.

Nearly nine years ago, Marion County resident Tim Wahlen decided to help his friend, Brian Nolan, with some yard work. This included growing an oak tree in Nolan’s backyard, and that’s when the ring went missing.

“We dug this massive whole and dropped the tree in it,” said Nolan. “What I didn’t know was that Wahlen had lost his ring that day.”

Nearly a decade later, Nolan permitted a group of metal detecting searchers on his property earlier this week. The group found many artifacts outside of the home which included coins and buttons, and then the group discovered a silver ring.

At first, Nolan thought the ring may have belonged to a member of his wife’s family, who may have served in the Marines.

“My wife’s family has been in this house since the 1850′s and there’s a long lineage of people that served in the armed forces,” he said.

But it turned out, the ring did not belong to anyone in her family.

Nolan explained that he then told Wahlen about the ring and, to his surprise, his friend described the ring in exact detail. That’s when he realized it was the ring Wahlen lost in the yard all those years ago.

Wahlen recalled the moment he was reunited with the ring after he thought it would never return.

“A lot of memories came back,” he said. “It means a great deal to me.”

“It meant a lot to Tim,” said Nolan. “He lost all his possessions in a house fire and this is all he could have. And [in that moment] I could hear it in his voice when he said it was his dad’s ring. I’ve lost in the past and I know what it means when you find something you’ve lost for a long time, feels you with memories of that person.”

Wahlen said the ring holds much significance for his family because the ring had been passed down from generation to generation. Wahlen said the ring originally belonged to his uncle Ed Stacey, who served in World War II.

“When he passed away he gave it to my dad," said Wahlen. "My dad gave it to me for my birth. My dad was happy to get it. It meant quite a bit.”

“I’m happy the ring found its home,” said Nolan. “His dad up in heaven is happy I’m sure the ring has made its way back to Tim’s hand.”

For Wahlen, the ring symbolizes his uncle’s dedication and years of service to his country. He hopes their story inspires other people to show their gratitude to veterans, for their service every day.

“A lot of people seem to forget what veterans have done," said Wahlen. "They should keep them in their hearts.”

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