WHITE TOWNSHIP, N.J – A Christmas tree farmer has found and returned a wedding ring that slipped off a New Jersey man's finger roughly 15 years ago.
David Penner lost the ring during a visit with his wife to Wyckoff's Tree Farm in White Township. He returned and searched, but the ring was nowhere to be found.
"I thought it was a miracle," Penner said of the farmer's find.
John Wyckoff, a third-generation tree farmer, told NJ.com he was riding on the back of a tractor sticking trees in the ground in April when he spotted something shiny in the soil. He sifted the dirt and found the wedding band. An NJ.com report on the discovery last week spurred a call from Penner's sister-in-law, who connected the two men.
"I got probably about half a dozen emails of people trying to give me leads," Wyckoff said. "One was right on."
Wyckoff invited Penner into his house to see the ring. Penner knew the date within the band, which Wyckoff had withheld when sharing the story. But Wyckoff asked for a wedding certificate as well. The 68-year-old Penner, of Liberty Township, offered to show ID, but Wyckoff insisted.
"That's no problem," Penner remembered saying. He went to the bank Monday to get the certificate.
The reunion was bittersweet for Penner, who lost his wife of 42 years when she died at age 67 in September.
"This was a piece to come back to me, in her absence," he said.