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Family searches for veteran's 'priceless' sentimental ring

Posted at 1:09 AM, Jan 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-16 06:41:36-05

He fought for our country in Vietnam, put himself through college while raising a family, and now a symbol of that sacrifice -- a ring -- has gone missing.

Don Goodlin, 72, went to the Neighborhood Walmart on Pine Island Road in Cape Coral Thursday to return a scooter. 

"My dad doesn't go out too much. He enjoys being home most of the time with my mom," his daughter, Amanda Goodlin said. "That evening he realized his ring was gone, and this is the only place he's been."

Goodlin said the family scoured the house searching for the ring, but it never turn up. She's been back to the store every day since, searching the parking lot and talking to store employees.

"I've been here during the day and at night, too, because I thought at night with a flashlight, it may shine," she said.

The ring was expensive, but she said the sentimental value is priceless to Don.

"I was a baby. My dad said, "You know, I have to do better,' because we lived in a very rough neighborhood," Goodlin said.

She said Don is a Vietnam War Veteran who was constantly told he would never amount to anything. Proving them wrong, Don went to Washington University and got his degree in engineering.

"And my mom saved every penny," Goodlin said. "Put every penny aside while he was in school, and when he graduated, she gave him that ring."

She said it's a traditional gold college class ring with a ruby stone. It says Washington University School of Engineering 1983 with Don Goodlin's name inside. It also has an inscribed message from Amanda and her family reading "Thank you for the example you have set for our family."

Goodlin said she thinks someone may have picked it up -- not necessarily with bad intentions -- but not realizing how special it is. She's hoping that person does the right thing.

"I've never seen my father cry, but I think he'd get pretty close to that," Goodlin said.

If you have the ring, Goodlin says to call her at 239-222-8388 or 239-728-8054. She said you can also bring the ring to the Southwest Florida Military Museum -- no questions asked. The family is offering a reward for the ring.