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Integrity, honesty prevails at Butler Home Depot as mom’s jewel recovered

Ring reclaimed
Butler Home Depot employees Cindy Wyant, left, and Kelly Zelenski, right, pose with the Homer Badges they received from store manager Jill Dudgeon, center, for finding and returning a diamond ring to a customer in May. Employees are given Homer Badges if they go above and beyond the call of duty. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

Barbara Vorel, of Center Township, had a lot of errands to complete May 1.

One of those tasks was to visit a jeweler to see about having her late mother’s diamond ring reset into a bespoke necklace.

Because the marquis diamond on a thick gold band does not fit Vorel, she often wore it on a chain around her neck so her mom’s cherished diamond — which she thinks is 1 to 1.5 carats — remains close to her heart.

“I like to take Mom wherever I go,” Vorel said of wearing the diamond, which she always tucked inside her clothing. “I tell her ‘We’re going to the bank today, then the store.’”

One of Vorel’s stops May 1 was the Butler Home Depot, where she purchased a carbon monoxide detector.

She completed her errands and pulled into her garage around 8 p.m.

“I was bending over, and I saw that my chain was dangling,” Vorel said. “I said ‘Oh my God!’ My mother loved this ring. She wore it every day.”

She called the places she stopped that still were open, but no one had found the ring.

“I said nobody’s going to turn this ring in,” Vorel said. “They’ll go pawn it or something.”

She spent the remainder of that Saturday evening near despair.

“I was apologizing to my mother,” Vorel said. “I knew she would just be sick about it.”

The next morning, she went to her dentist’s office and the Sheetz she had visited the day before, but there was no sign of the ring.

She then drove to the Home Depot in Moraine Point Plaza where she had bought the CO1 detector and asked if a ring had been found.

After being told by someone at the desk that the ring had not been found, Vorel began looking around the store.

She said many customers and employees asked her if she had lost something or needed help, and promised to keep an eye out for the priceless heirloom as they navigated the huge store.

On the way out, Vorel stopped at the desk one more time to ask another employee if a ring had been found.

“She said ‘Oh my gosh, we did,’” Vorel said. “She said it was in the money bag.”

An employee had looked in the vault, but did not know a diamond ring was inside one of the money bags.

A manager went to the store vault and retrieved the ring, completely intact.

“I hugged her because I was so excited,” Vorel said.

She immediately offered a reward, but was told Home Depot employees are not permitted to accept tips from customers.

Jill Dudgeon, store manager at the Butler Home Depot, said a customer found the ring in the store’s parking lot and gave it to the head cashier.

“The cashier put it into a (money) bag and sent it to the vault so it wouldn’t have any chance of disappearing,” Dudgeon said.

She explained that the store has a tube system, like a bank, from the front of the store to the vault in the rear. Only a few employees are able to open the vault.

Dudgeon said she was delighted, but not really surprised, that a customer had done the right thing and turned in the ring.

“For Home Depot, this is my ninth store in the area,” she said. “I think that Butler folks are just salt of the earth people and they are so kind and honest.

“It’s truly wonderful to be (employed) in this store.’

Dudgeon also is extremely proud of her team for immediately securing the valuable ring in the vault.

She said all employees are extensively trained on the store’s Value Wheel program, which sees a Value Wheel hanging on each worker’s apron when they are at work.

Among the eight values are do the right thing, give back, respect for all people, building relationships and excellent customer service, Dudgeon said.

The Value Wheel was initiated by the company’s founder more than 40 years ago, she said.

“We live by the Value Wheel,” Dudgeon said. “It is not just something we say. It’s our culture. It’s so ingrained in us that outside of Home Depot, it’s who we are.”

She said new employees are educated on the Value Wheel and its importance.

“If a new employee can’t live by those values, we cut them loose,” Dudgeon said. “The values are what we do and how we behave every day.”

She said employees are given Homer Badges if they go above and beyond the call of duty in a situation.

Dudgeon gave both employees involved in securing the ring Homer Badges.

“When an associate gets three Homer Badges, they get an increase in pay,” she said. “We have a pretty amazing company that takes care of our people.”

Vorel said she will never forget the honesty and integrity shown by the stranger who decided not to keep the ring.

“They saw immediately what they had to do, and that’s turn it in,” she said.

Vorel also appreciates the Home Depot employees who helped get her mother’s ring back.

“We’ve got a lot of honest people in Butler, Pa.,” said Vorel, who is a Butler High graduate.

She said her mother would be ecstatic that her ring was found.

“She would be crying,” Vorel said. “She’d be mad at me for losing it, but ecstatic at the honesty of the person who turned it in.”

She will not likely wear the ring around her neck anymore, and will take it to a jeweler to have it made into a proper necklace.

Vorel is not sure of the ring’s history or where or when her mother bought it, but she is thrilled to have it back because it meant so much to her.

“Can you believe it?” she said of the ring’s recovery. “I’m still in shock.”

Barbara Vorel displays her late mother's ring, which was returned to her thanks to the kindness of a stranger and a pair of honest Home Depot employees.
The diamond ring bought many years ago by Barbara Vorel's late mother. Vorel almost lost the ring she cherishes for representing her mom's memory.

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