Winthrop Smith Jr. was out walking one day when he found a diamond ring on the ground, touching off a quest to find the ring’s owner.

Smith, a local attorney and former state senator, walks regularly on different Milford streets to stay in shape. He’s been walking for a few of years, picking out his route for the day and then usually driving to the spot and walking his mapped-out route.

One day in October he decided to walk in the Burnt Plains Road area. That took him to Branca Court, where he found the ring in a pile of leaves at the curbside.

“There was a time I would just jump over curbs,” Smith said, “but now I usually look down and watch my step when I get to the curb. That’s how I spotted something in the leaves. I reached down and picked it up, and it was a ring, muddy, and it looked like it had been run over by a car. I didn’t know if it was real — a real diamond ring — but I stuck it in my pocket and brought it home.”

Smith took the ring to Valentine’s Diamond Center in Milford and they told him it was a channel setting on 14 karat yellow gold, worth at least $2,000. They cleaned it up and it looked as good as new.

“I thought somebody must be looking for this,” Smith said.

Smith, with his wife Deb and the staff at his office, worked together to come up with a way to find the owner: They really wanted to reunite the ring, which they assumed was a wedding ring, with its owner.

They made flyers that simply said “Gold Ring Found,” and to call with a description.
Searching for a ring
Meanwhile, on Branca Court, Richard Fisk noticed one morning that his wedding ring was missing.

He and his wife, Sharon, bought their rings — his single wedding band and her engagement ring and wedding band — 30 years ago in St. Martin. While there they had the rings designed and then the jeweler mailed them to the Milfrod couple. That was well before they even married — the couple married 17 years ago in 1998.

It was about a month ago that Richard noticed the ring was missing.

“I have a ritual,” he said. “I put my chain, my watch and my ring on my bureau.”

When he went to put the three on one morning, the ring wasn’t there.

Fisk, who owns Specialty Tool Company on Erna Avenue with his wife, has been battling health issues since 2007, and since then he’s lost a considerable amount of weight, so as they tore through the house and the car looking for the ring, there was the outside chance that the ring had fallen off during one of Fisk’s regular walks around the neighborhood.

After searching and searching with no luck, and feeling the emptiness where the ring had been for so many years, Fisk brought a bracelet to Valentine’s and had the gold turned into a ring. But he still felt the loss — his wedding ring meant a lot to him.
Distributing flyers
Recently Smith took his 200 or so “Gold Ring Found” flyers and put them on porches along Burnt Plains Road, Branca Court and other streets around that October walking route. Determined to find the real owner, Smith said he was worried he would get lots of calls from people claiming it was their gold ring.

But he only got one call.
Finding a flyer
Sharon Fisk was walking in her house one evening when she noticed a flyer on her front porch. She picked it up, thinking it was some kind of marketing paper. When she got inside she read it and showed it to Richard. “Look, someone found a ring,” she told him.

They knew it might be anyone’s ring that had been found but decided to call the number on the flyer despite their doubts.

She reached Win Smith and answered a few questions: It was a channel setting, Sharon Fisk told him.

Smith asked her what the inscription said, and doubt settled in for a minute because there was no inscription.

Smith admits it was a trick question. He wanted to be sure he’d found the rightful owner. Indeed, there was no inscription.


Reunited
On Saturday, Smith brought the ring to the Fisks on Branca Court, a house more or less across the street from where Smith had found the ring.

Richard took one look at the ring and it was obvious Smith had found the right owner.

“This is a miracle,” Fisk said, “because I never expected to see it again.”

Sharon added, “That ring means so much to him.”

The Fisks said Smith’s honesty and diligence in finding them is just as wonderful as having the ring back. “We’re very grateful,” Sharon said, adding that she loves Milford and thinks there are great people here. This, she said, is more proof.

Richard said he isn’t going to wear his ring again until he gets it sized down.

“I’m elated, and I don’t want to lose it again,” he said.

“This is one in a million,” he added, looking at the ring.