Plumber retrieves sentimental band of gold

Six generations of marriage went down the drain Friday.
As Tricia Sandbeck-Marshall washed her hair, a gold wedding band first worn by her great-great-great grandmother slipped off her finger and clinked down the pipe.
The Bremerton woman called around to plumbers and got an $800 quote to try to retrieve it. Sandbeck-Marshall, who’s in an expensive battle with thyroid cancer, doesn’t have that kind of dough. Her husband is working two jobs to keep up with the medical bills.
“Being totally strapped for money now because of my cancer, I didn’t feel like I could spend money on myself for something that might not be there,” she said.
Robison Plumbing called her back Saturday morning, said it wouldn’t cost that much.
“I talked to that woman and it brought me to tears,” said dispatcher Jackie Miesse.
She sent Bill Blair out for an estimate. He sliced the price to $361. Still too high. Sandbeck-Marshall asked to make payments. Robison doesn’t do that. The plumber suggested she charge it to a credit card. She couldn’t.
Blair rang up office manager Shelley Avery. She authorized the work a Christmas present. He squeezed into the crawl space and within a half an hour had the band in hand.
“(Blair) called me and told me how much she appreciated it,” said Miesse, the dispatcher. “She was just so happy. This ring meant so much to her. The fact that he could do something like that made him feel so good. It was a wonderful day.”
The company didn’t seek publicity, but Sandbeck-Marshall couldn’t keep the deed to herself. She called the newspaper.
Robison owner Jim Short didn’t find out about the episode until the company Christmas party that night.
“I won’t say its something we’ve done on purpose during the holiday season,” he said. “We try to do nice stuff on occasion. You can’t do it all the time or you’ll go broke, but we were just glad to do it.”
Sandbeck-Marshall, who’s been married 27 years, received the ring 10 years ago when her mother passed away. The tradition will continue with her daughter. She also has three granddaughters.
“What a nice act of kindness,” she said about the free plumbing. “What a blessing, and then to find my ring. I didn’t know if they would find it or not.”
— Ed Friedrich

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