For graduation, nearly 20 years ago, Randy Nance’s parents bought him a class ring from West High in West, Texas -— now known around the world for the explosion that killed 15.
They gave him one rule.
“Don’t lose it," Nance said. "Don’t lose it was rule one."
Which he broke.
Shortly after graduation, Nance dove into nearby Lake Whitney. When he came up, the ring was missing under 10 feet of water.
Nance was in trouble with mom.
“She was mad,” he said. “Jokingly, she told me I was grounded forever."
Six years later, when the lake was low in 2000, Kelly Baxter’s family spied a high school ring at the bottom of Lake Whitney. She tried, but could never find the owner.
“I would want someone to do that for me,” Baxter said.
In 2013, thirteen years after finding the ring, she finally connected with Nance on Facebook. After the explosion in West, Kelly’s search intensified.
“I saw it one time after the explosion happened in West, and I really wanted, more so than ever, to get it to him, because I knew that was where he was from,” Baxter said.
Randy accepted his West High ring with gratitude, and the even deeper meaning behind the kindness of stranger towards his hometown.
“Lots of pride. Very proud of the people of West," Nance said. "That community has pulled together in a way that’s unbelievable."
Lost to a teenager, returned to a man.
Nance said he’s still prone to losing things, on occasion. But at least he’s not grounded anymore.