Postal worker finds a championship ring and rediscovers a life-long friend and coach


    LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- A Lynchburg postal worker found a state championship ring at the post office recently, and when she looked to see whose it was, she rediscovered a life-long friend and coach.

    Paula Johnson was hard at work when she saw the ring on her supervisor's desk, dropped off at the lost and found.

    "I looked at the ring and said, 'This is a coach's ring'," said Johnson.

    Then she looked to see if there was a name on the ring.

    "I saw 'Wally Gilbert' who was my coach from 1979 at Heritage High School, so my track coach, and now I have his class ring, and I am so excited to go and deliver it to him," Johnson explained.

    So, Johnson got her supervisor's stamp of approval to return the ring, and then set off for the biggest delivery of her day.

    "Is this yours," she asked her old coach Wally Gilbert after arriving at his house.

    After some discussion and examining the ring, Gilbert was excited to get his old ring back.

    "I just wanted to come and return it to you," Johnson told Gilbert. "I hadn't seen you in 30 years."

    Gilbert started coaching in Lynchburg in 1956 at E.C. Glass where he stayed for 20 years before moving to Heritage where he retired after his team won the 1991 championship.

    Johnson, her brother, and her daughter all had Wally Gilbert as a coach, and Johnson proudly sported her daughter's championship ring for the occasion.

    “They’re still coming up and recognizing him and thanking him and remembering things that happened," said Johnson about her family members.

    Gilbert's memory might not be as good as it once was, but his love for his cherished athletes has never faded.

    "They were good," he said. "They were good."

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