PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Naomi Veroczi has happy childhood memories of spending time with her grandmother.
“We called her Grammy and she was from the South and she was known for saying, ‘Good Lord!’ It was kind of her signature,” Veroczi told KOIN 6 News. “She’d make fried chicken in the kitchen and my mom just had this look of horror on her face as the flour went flying everywhere.”
When she was 8, she was given her grandmother’s wedding ring. “It was a white gold ring” with lines on it, she said. “It was exceedingly tarnished.”
Grammy, who was born in 1902, died in the 1980s. Veroczi cherished that ring and 7 other heirloom rings she kept in a small black pouch.
In August 2019, she was downsizing and getting ready to move. The pouch of rings were in the “keep” pile and a short, blonde wig would end up in the “donate to Goodwill” pile.
“I had these rings one day as I was sorting stuff. I was, like, ‘Oh, I don’t have time to lock it up, I’ve got to go. I’m just going to put it in the wig,'” she said. “I put it in the wig and I forgot about it.”
The wig — with the rings inside — ended up in a collection box for Goodwill. She realized her mistake about 2 weeks after she made the donation.
“I was, like, ‘Oh my God! What have I done?'”
She rushed to the Goodwill store where she donated the items on SE 90th and Powell. But she felt frustrated that all she could do was fill out a “Donation in Error” form.
“I was, like, ‘Why would they do this? Why wouldn’t they give this back? It’s so obvious it’s a wig with rings in it. Somebody has got to see this,'” she said. “I didn’t realize the volume of stuff that was going in.”
Last year, Goodwill employees at the Powell location alone processed more than 3.3 million pounds of donations. Items are usually sorted within 3 hours of being dropped off. Then those items may go to the retail floor. They might also be moved to a Goodwill boutique, a Goodwill outlet, a warehouse or one of two virtual stores to be sold online.
“If it’s jewelry, the next place it goes is e-commerce, to ShopGoodwill,” said Goodwill spokesperson Dale Emanuel. “The number one seller on ShopGoodwill — which is available to North America — is jewelry.”
There’s no way to know if employees found rings in the wig and processed them or if the black pouch remained hidden in the wig.
“It could still be tucked in there and somebody on the floor got a really good deal,” Emanuel said. “They got these 8 little rings and this blonde, little short wig.”
Naomi Veroczi not only doesn’t have the rings that she hoped to leave to her own children. She doesn’t have photos of them. But she found pictures of similar rings, one with a sapphire and gold band, an emerald that was flat, tapered and metal and a garnet ring that was square.
“What’s very distinct about them is that they’re really, really small. I kind of have really tiny wrists. My grandmother, she had Size 2 feet. She was very tiny. So the rings really wouldn’t fit most women unless it was like on their pinky.”
But if there’s one ring she could somehow get back it would be Grammy’s wedding ring.
“You know, anything can happen,” she said. “Anything can happen.”
She hopes if someone bought the ring or purchased a wig with a black pouch inside maybe they’ll see this and consider making a new deal.
“I would hope anybody who has witnessed this or have seen it, they’d be willing to come forward and let me know about it,” Veroczi said. “Maybe I could make them some jewelry in exchange for it.”
If you have any information about these rings, you’re asked to contact Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette.