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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / Ex-Serviceman Returns Ring to Rightful Owner after Searching for 59 years – With a little help of his wife and that Little engine that could… GOOGLE –

Ex-Serviceman Returns Ring to Rightful Owner after Searching for 59 years – With a little help of his wife and that Little engine that could… GOOGLE –

by Terry Miller
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Dave and Beverly Mills found the owners of a ring after 59 years - Photo by Terry Miller


Ex-Serviceman Returns Ring to Rightful Owner after Searching for 59 years
– With a little help of his wife and that
Little engine that could… GOOGLE –

By Terry Miller

In November 15, 1952 Rosemead resident Arvin David Mills received his draft notice to report to Fort Snelling in Minneapolis. From there he was transfered to Fort Knox, Kentucky where he was to specialize in rifle training.

During those 16 weeks of training Mills made many friends but one in particular stuck in his memory all these years. This man, Peter Herzing was from St. Mary’s PA.
After completing basic training they received their respective orders, Mills was the only one who was ordered to stay stateside. He was an Expert Rifleman and was ordered to teach stateside.

It was a tense time in military lives as the Korean War was taking center stage and most men drafted assumed they were going into combat – with a very strong possibility they might not come back. Bonds were quickly formed and trust and honor was not an exception, it was the unwritten rule.

Dave Mills when he was in Fort Knox

Herzing treasured a ring,( which his sisters had given him as a Christmas gift) – hovever it had to be repaired and was sent to a local jeweler.
When he get got his orders to ship out to (ultimately Germany) Herzing gave Mills the claim-ticket and asked him to pick it up for him if it wasn’t ready in time before he had to ship out for duty.

Peter Herzing in the service in 1950's


Three days later Herzing was sent overseas, albeit without the ring. Mills had made a promise to Herzing that he’d get the ring back to him. He just didn’t know, at the time, it would take 59 years.

Not knowing if and when they would see one another again, Mills held on to the ring trying periodically to find Herzing. He’d call up the post offices in various towns where he thought Herzing might live. He attempted to get telephone books. Up until very recently all efforts proved fruitless.

That was March 1953. The ring stayed with Mills until September of 2011. So for the past 59 years, one man kept a promise to a military buddy.

This ring has apparently been to Minnesota (Mills’ home town) and out to California were Mills now lives with his wife Beverly since 1956.

“During the ensuing years I would come across this ring ( which is a beautiful Gold ring with Black Onyz and diamonds) and thought I should try and locate the family again. This past week once again i came across this ring and asked my wife to try and locate a family in Harrisburg, PA.” said Mills.

Well, things are a little different now with the dawn of “search engines” and of course, Mills’ wife’s ‘engine’ of choice is Google.

“ Well needless to say within 30 minutes over the internet she came across a family with the name that I have been looking for and the age was near my age. There was a telephone number. I called and spoke with Mrs. Peter Herzing. I mentioned that Ihad a ring I believed might belong to her husband. She described the ring and sure enough this was her husband’s ring.” Mills said.

Sadly during the conversation with Joan Herzing, Mills discovered that Peter passed away 2 years ago. However, the promise made those 59 years ago was fulfilled.

The very next day, the ring was sent via FedEx to Joan Herzing on the East Coast.
The ring arrived a day earlier than expected. Herzing was flabbergasted and tears rushed to her eyes when she opened the carefully packed box and saw the ring that had been AWOL for so long.

Mrs Herzing treasures the ring that was just returned

Beacon Media spoke with Herzing in St, Mary’s PA a few days after she received the ring. “ I was shocked and crying..” said Herzing. “ I immediately called my daughter to tell her Dad’s ring was home.”

To show partial gratitude to the Mills family, Joan Herzing sent an “ absoultely beautiful flower arrangement for my mom’s special day – she would have turned 100 on Sept 27.” said Beverly.

“ I called to thank her and she said that the day we called she called every family member and friends and told them this story. That night she was going to tell her husband that his ring was coming home.”
“We both decided this should be a Hallmark movie” said Mills. Perhaps one day it will.

“This has been one of the most rewarding things to have happened to me Iwas able to keep a promise and see that this ring made it back home.” Dave Mills told Beacon Media.

With the help of his loving and very patient wife and a little thing called Google, the Mills made lots of people in PA very happy indeed. Closing a chapter in the life of a military friendship “ we were both just kids…I don’t think this would happen today.” said Mills.

Thanks to the ring and the back story of promises made and promises kept, a wonderful new friendship has emerged between the two families and they call each other regularly.

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