A grateful Judy Hornickel holds up her wedding rings, welded together as one, Monday morning at her La Salle home. Hornickel accidentally lost the rings while packing up a box for a “Spring Cleaning Give Away” event. The rings eventually made their way to Lily Pads Resale Boutique in Peru before getting returned.

She wore the rings for over 30 years, but for about a week, they were nowhere to be found.

But this story has a happy ending.

Judy Hornickel of La Salle called the NewsTribune Monday morning to say her wedding rings, welded together as one, were found after being separated from her for about a week.

Hornickel was a volunteer at the “Spring Cleaning Give Away” event on March 30 at First Congregational Church of La Salle. People, including Hornickel, donated items to give away for free.

While she was packing things up, her rings — which she has worn for over 30 years from her marriage with her late husband, Ray — fell in a box that was eventually donated to Lily Pads Resale Boutique in Peru.

Saturday morning, a week after the giveaway, she called both Salvation Army and Lily Pads to ask if they had found the rings. Donations had been brought to both locations after the giveaway was over.

About two hours later, Lily Pads called to say they’d found the rings.

Hornickel wanted to let others know how happy she was Lily Pads was able to find and return her rings.

The staff at Lily Pads was more than happy to help with the reunion.

“We were thrilled we were able to find it,” said Rosanna Stremlau at Lily Pads, explaining that despite everyone’s honesty and best efforts, it doesn’t always end so happy when things get accidentally donated.

Stremlau said it was a team effort and credited volunteer Leigh Ann Delaney for helping find the ring.

“We all got lucky,” Stremlau said, describing the situation as one in a million: Hornickel’s rings fell off her finger into a box and got stuck in the box’s folds toward the bottom where they weren’t visible. The box would later be cut up at Lily Pads, when Delaney heard it fall on the ground (Lily Pads is often noisy, so it was a fortunate Delaney noticed the sound).

Later, they heard Hornickel’s voicemail and pieced together that it was her ring.

“I’m very grateful,” Hornickel said.

Ali Braboy can be reached at (815) 220-6931 and countyreporter@newstrib.com. Follow her on Twitter: @NT_PutnamCo


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