Heirloom ring returned to Marine veteran in Marion after being flushed

MARION, Ind. – A Marine Corps veteran in Marion got the scare of his life this week. Now, he’s saying thank you to a plumbing service team led by a fellow brother in arms.

Every day, Sgt. Rick Reyes wears his grandfather’s ring. It was given to him after his grandfather passed, to be used as his wedding ring.

“My grandfather was a retired Marine, and he was the reason I went into the Marine Corps,” Reyes said.

Reyes says not only is his grandfather’s ring a family heirloom, but it’s pretty valuable too. He says it’s been appraised as worth $10,000.

One day, while cleaning the ring, Reyes placed it in a container on the back of his toilet. That’s when the worst case scenario happened.

“One of the kids must have come in and used the restroom after I got out of the shower and didn’t realize it got flushed,” he said.

Reyes says he called multiple plumbing companies to help retrieve the ring but was continually greeted with bad news.

“The first two said it wasn’t even worth trying. The third said it was going to cost $3,000 to $7,000,” he said.

Finally, Reyes was able to get a hold of a Roto-Rooter franchise in Kokomo, who told him they could get the job done.

“First thing I thought was ‘how are we going to get this ring, we’re going to get this ring,’” Roto-Rooter general manager Avery Suelzer said.

Suelzer is a fellow Marine veteran and promised Reyes, Marine to Marine, that his team would retrieve the ring. That’s exactly what they did.

“We celebrated like it was the Super Bowl. Once I gave it to Mr. Reyes’ mom and I saw the reaction on her face and the immediate tears that came to her eyes, it hit me hard,” Suelzer said.

Reyes says the gratitude he feels for the team can‘t be explained in words. He adds that he doesn’t know what he would’ve done if they couldn’t help, but he would have done whatever it took to get the ring back.

“This is a reminder everyday of him (his grandfather). I probably would have found a way to get it out of there, but it would’ve been messy and expensive,” Reyes said.

Reyes now says he’s just grateful to have his grandfather’s ring back and doesn’t plan on letting it out of his sight again.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to give it to one of my grandkids one day, or my son,” Reyes said.

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