When Ginger Carter reached between the chair cushions in Kim Gunter's office Thursday afternoon, the last thing she might have expected to find down there was a wedding band.
Carter is vice president of branch operations for Bowater Employees Credit Union in Calhoun, Tenn., and Gunter is the vice president of marketing. The two were sitting in Gunter's office chatting when Carter's hand brushed against an old paperclip in the chair where she sat. Jokingly, Carter began rummaging through the chair, then checked the other chair in the room.
It was there that Carter made the discovery, Gunter said.
"She moved over and reached down and was like, 'Kim, you'll never guess what I found,'" Gunter said.
It was a wedding band. Yellow gold, it bore an inscription -- two sets of initials and the date of the wedding: 3-18-61.
Glenna Pritchett, chief financial officer for the credit union, was able to determine that the ring likely belonged to Bob Lee, based on the initials and anniversary date. Lee had served on the credit union's board of directors.
"I gave Bob a call and I asked him if he had ever lost a wedding ring," Carter said.
He said he had -- about 25 years ago.
"He was very shocked," Carter said. "He was just stunned for a few moments, didn't know what to say."
Lee said in an interview he'd assumed for 25 years that he had lost the band after putting it in his pocket when he got to the mill where he worked. He had gotten a new band without an inscription and had worn that instead for all these years.
Friday afternoon, he went back to the credit union to get the original band back from Carter.
"I told the girls up there ... that whoever had been cleaning the credit union all these years really didn't do that good a job," he said, laughing.
Lee said he was very happy to have his ring back, as was his wife, Evelyn Lee, who goes by Pauline. He said he has retired his replacement ring in favor of the original.
"I switched this morning," Lee said on Friday. "I'm glad to get that back because I've had it 53 years."
Contact staff writer Hannah Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6731.