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Rings back with family -- nearly 30 years later

Posted Feb 23rd, 2017

Rings back with family -- nearly 30 years later

Niagara Health staff member discovers rings from 1988 in vault at Douglas Memorial in Fort Erie

Vaughn Wilson admits he was shocked when he received a recent phone call from Niagara Health’s Douglas Memorial Site in Fort Erie.

The Tonawanda, N.Y., resident hadn’t been to Fort Erie since 1988, when his grandmother, Violet, passed away at Douglas Memorial.

On the other end of the phone line was Karen Pietrangelo, Manager Patient Registration and Health Information at Douglas Memorial and Greater Niagara General in Niagara Falls. Mrs. Pietrangelo had some surprising news for Mr. Wilson: She had found two rings belonging to his grandmother in a vault and wanted to make sure they were returned to Violet’s family.

“It’s was surprising, especially after all these years,” says Mr. Wilson. “I’m very glad to see they came back this way. It meant a lot. It was very humbling. It was very nice of them to find me.”

Mrs. Pietrangelo discovered the rings when she was cleaning out an archive area at Douglas Memorial. She moved a giant ledger and found the two rings in an envelope, which included the patient’s information and family contact phone number. Working with Douglas Memorial Health Records Clerk Kate Gardiner, Mrs. Pietrangelo checked the phone number online and discovered it still belonged to a Wilson in Tonawanda, N.Y.

Returning the rings to Mr. Wilson was a wonderful experience and highlight of her 29-year healthcare career.

“I told Vaughn that perhaps his grandmother was waiting to make sure the rings go to the right person at the right time,” says Mrs. Pietrangelo. “The story touched the staff here at Douglas Memorial and we’re all delighted it came to a fantastic end.”

Niagara Health System