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Senior ring reunited with graduate after 20 years of being lost, gone

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  SHEPHERDSVILLE - A girls’ senior ring was returned to its owner 20 years after it was stolen from her residence.

Pamela Blandford Hutchins received her ring Feb. 21st from Thomas Townsend of Louisville after he found it in 2006 while walking with a friend off Dixie Highway on Nelson Avenue and Young Lane in Louisville.

     There were many twists and turns as the ring seemed to want to stay lost for a long time.

     Pam Blandford graduated from Bullitt Central High School in 1978. In her yearbook, she wrote that one of her favorite memories was “receiving my high school ring.”

     The beautiful gold keepsake was adorned with Bullitt Central’s traditional maroon and gray colors and her initials PBB engraved on the underside.

    Pam married Keith Hutchins and they settled in Bardstown to raise a family.

     In 1990, their residence was burglarized by juveniles who took several electronic items along with Pam’s ring.

     “She was pretty upset about her senior class ring,” Keith said. “It had a lot of sentimental value attached to it.”

     “I thought I would never see my ring again,” Pam said.

     Keith checked local pawn shops for the stolen items. He found his amplifier at one location. He notified authorities and their investigation led to the arrest of four juveniles.

     But the ring was never recovered.

     Wind the clock ahead 18 years.

     Thomas Townsend and a buddy, Earl Garth, were taking a walk in west Louisville. Earl was undergoing treatment for cancer and was following doctor’s orders by getting some exercise.

     Thomas recalled his friend first noticed a shiny object on pavement next to a car.

     “He pointed to it and I picked it up,” Thomas said. “All we knew was it was a ring and probably someone on the street lost it.”

     Thomas knocked on the front doors of houses on the street but no one claimed it.

     Upon closer examination, Thomas learned the ring was engraved with a school.

     “It said ‘Bullitt Central’ but I didn’t know where that was,” he said.

     So he hooked the ring to his key chain and, “Carried it around for a long time. I figured either someone would be looking for it or I would find the school and give it to them.”

     In 2009, he was in Shepherdsville and asked for directions to Bullitt Central. Entering the building, he met receptionist Sandy Britt.

      “Mrs. Britt was real nice,” Thomas said. “She said she would try to find out who the ring belonged to.”

      “We put out messages through the school, the district and in the newspaper but got no response at all,” Sandy said.

      Days, weeks and months passed without any results. A full year went by and the ring still sat in a safe at Bullitt Central.

      Throughout the time, Sandy continued to tell visitors about the ring and the initials hoping for a lead.

      “It was like the ring didn’t want to be found,” she said.

      Sandy looked through yearbooks of the late 1970’s and saw a name that matched the PBB initials inside the ring, Pamela B. Blandford.

However, she had no idea how to contact her.

     All of that changed in January 2011.

     As fate would have it Sandy was telling the story of the ring to newly hired Secretary Angie Huffman and she was particularly interested in the last name of Blandford.

     “I knew some Blandfords through cheerleading here at Bullitt Central but wasn’t sure if there was a connection.”

     One of the relatives was a truck driver, Marty Blandford, who made deliveries to Bullitt Central. That same day Angie made a call, and in he comes.

     “It was amazing. I just talked about him and there he was,” she said.

     Marty and Pam are cousins. Angie told Marty about the ring. Marty called Keith who told him what happened to his wife’s ring.

     Keith called Sandy when informed that his wife’s senior class ring had been found and returned.

     “He was beyond excited on the telephone,” Sandy smiled.

     Keith and Sandy organized a date and time to reunite Pam with her ring. Mr. Townsend was notified and asked to be present.

     “I told Pam another story in order to get her to Bullitt Central,” Keith smiled. “I knew she had no idea of the surprise.”

     On a make-up school day, Principal Christy Coulter showed Pam the yearbook with her picture and her favorite senior memory.

     Thomas then handed the ring to Pam who could not contain her emotion. She wept as she hugged Thomas.

     “I can’t believe this,” she smiled. “This means so much to me. Thank you!”

     Christy, Sandy, Angie and Keith were all smiles as Thomas shared the story of how the ring was found. 

     “It really restores your faith in people,” Christy said. “There are good, honest people in this world.”

     Thomas said all he wanted was to see that the ring was returned to its rightful owner.

     “It gives me a real good feeling,” he said.

     “It’s unbelievable,” Angie said. “Words can’t describe what happened today at Bullitt Central.”

One other detail that must be mentioned...Thomas has had something else on his mind since last August.

     He has undergone 45 treatments for prostate cancer.

     The good news...doctors feel confident the treatments are successful.

     Bullitt County Public Schools has nearly 13,000 students in grades kindergarten through 12. There are 25 school facilities, a certified staff of over 850 and a classified staff of over 850 working every school day to make the district the leader in educational excellence.