It's the giving season, and the familiar Salvation Army bell-ringers are a common sight at local businesses, out in full force during their busiest time of year.
But one donation was less common recently at one of Wilson County's six bucket locations: a wedding band set and another with a larger diamond setting.
Wilson County Salvation Army Sgt. Tom Freeman said donations other than money are "very rare."
"Whenever we do get something like this, we set it aside for a few days to make sure it wasn't placed in a bucket by mistake," Freeman said.
But this one was different, as it was deliberately wrapped in a plastic baggie, which was wrapped inside a dollar bill.
"It was obvious whoever donated it didn't want anyone to notice it," he said.
Freeman took the three rings to a local jeweler who cleaned and polished it for him and was able to tell him some more information about the donation.
"According to the jeweler, based on the cut and style, it was an older piece. I imagine it may have come from a widow or someone who first had a smaller set of wedding rings and then got a ring with larger stones later on. But we don't know for sure."
In fact, Freeman said it was hard to determine which location it actually was dropped off. A few volunteers believed it was one of their Mt. Juliet locations, while others remembered collecting it from a Lebanon bucket.
"Without knowing who it came from, we have no means to get our gracious thanks out to the person responsible, so our only option is to use the media," Freeman said. "We cannot thank whoever donated it enough, and we will use it to do some good for the people in Wilson County."
Donating the rings are the first step for Freeman, who said now he hopes a local jeweler would be willing to purchase the rings to resell or an interested person would be willing to trade them for a donation to the Salvation Army.
"This was a generous sentimental gift, and if someone wanted to give it a place, we would be willing to make a swap."
Freeman said Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto has volunteered to ring a bell in front of the Lebanon Walmart Tuesday at noon. Hutto has offered a friendly challenge to Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead, but his office has not yet confirmed if he will be available at that time.
He added that the Lebanon Walmart location has by far the largest foot traffic of any location in the county.
If you are interested in the wedding ring set, contact the Wilson County Salvation Army at (615) 449-3495.
Managing Editor Zack Owensby may be contacted at email@example.com.