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Facebook Helps Connect Family with Long-Lost Bracelet

Courtesy Matt Kwiatkowski(ATLANTA) -- A bracelet lost decades ago by a Georgia man was returned to his children Sunday, thanks to Facebook.

Billy Sheridan, who died in 2006 at the age of 69, was a councilman in Winder, Ga., where his son and daughter still live. He was also a star baseball player at what is now Russell Middle School, where another Winder resident, while using a metal detector on the school’s grounds, found a sterling silver bracelet inscribed with Sheridan’s name.

“It was probably my 23rd or 25th time there,” Matt Kwiatkowski, 41, said last Thursday, the day he found the bracelet on the school’s grounds after about three hours of prospecting.

“It turns out the spot where I found it was part of the old baseball field, and he used to play baseball throughout his life,” Kwiatkowski said of Sheridan.

Kwiatkowski, who said he liked to use his metal detector in the historic town to search for items to add to the town’s history, took the bracelet home and cleaned it off, which led him to more clues.

“At first I thought it was a junk bracelet, and then I saw it was silver because the name wasn’t deteriorated,” he said.  “It also had sterling on the back, which made me know it was at least older than the 1960s.”

Kwiatkowski’s online research of the name “Billy Sheridan” led him to the discovery that Sheridan was a former council member and prominent Winder citizen.

Kwiatkowski posted an announcement on the search page of a local online newspaper, and minutes after Kiwatkowski’s post was shared on the Barrow Patch Facebook page, Sheridan’s daughter, Darenda Kinney, and grandson, Stephen Kinney, replied.

“I got a comment back from his grandson who said, ‘Oh my God, that’s my granddad,’” Kwiatowski recalled.

On Sunday, Kwiatowski met with the Kinneys and “three carloads” of Sheridan’s other family members to return the bracelet that once belonged to their beloved patriarch.

“They were in tears,” Kwiatowski said.  “She [Darenda Kinney] was a daddy’s girl, and she said they were extremely close and when he passed away it tore her up, and to have something else as a memory of him, she continues to send me emails about how happy she is.”

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