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A DeSoto County contractor reunited a Kansas high school graduate with a class ring that has been missing for nearly 50 years after finding the ring in the sewage system at a local school.

Thanks to a DeSoto County contractor, a 1967 graduate from a Kansas high school has been reunited with a class ring that was stolen from his home 45 years ago.

Charles Flynn was working on a sewer issue at Olive Branch Intermediate School last October when he found several rings and coins in the sewage system. One of these rings happened to be a a 1967 Bishop Carroll Catholic High School class ring engraved with the initials APB.

Finding an email address for Bishop Carroll, Flynn contacted the school to help him locate the ring's owner but only shared the first and last initial so that the ring could be claimed by the rightful owner with the correct middle initial.

Two Bishop Carroll students had first and last initials that matched the ring, but only one - Augie Paul Blanchat - had a matching middle initial. The owner of the ring was determined to be Blanchat, whose class ring and wife's jewelry were among the items stolen after his home was broken into in 1974. School administrators presented Blanchat with his ring at a special ceremony earlier this month - on a day that also happened to be his 70th birthday.

Other details of the reunion are just as incredible. Flynn, who has lived in DeSoto County his whole life, graduated from Horn Lake High School in 1966 - a year before Blanchat. The coincidences don't end there. His first email correspondence with Bishop Carroll dates to October 13 - Flynn's mother's birthday.

Flynn, whose own class ring has been missing for years, said that he was filled with emotion over being able to reunite Blanchat with the ring and over the fact that Blanchat called to personally thank him after the ceremony.

"It was great," Flynn said. "My eyes kind of watered a little bit. I was surprised that he called me. He teared up too."

While he always finds something interesting while working on plumbing and construction projects, Flynn is amazed that the ring ended up 600 miles away. He said that he can only take half the credit for the reunion and credits the people at Bishop Carroll for helping make the reunion possible.

Brent Walker is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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