Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- It wasn't the church mouse termite inspector Curtis Goins found at the Bell Street Church but something far more meaningful, a championship ring.
"I don't know if it's been there 21 years or what," said Goins.
Nearly 22 years ago Montgomery's Lee High School won the state championship. The full-back on the team was Landrum Hale, number 10 who often paved the way for teammate and former University of Georgia star Larry Ware. Much like Ware, Hale played collegiate ball at Hinds Junior College in Jackson, Mississippi.
"Awesome player. Very disciplined. Quiet on the field," Ware remembered.
A championship trophy in addition to rings for the entire team. A season to remember.
"We knew we had a caliber team that year," Ware said.
Goins handed over the lost ring to Lee High School principal David Sykes but this story will not end the way you might think or hope.
"I wish I could give it back to him. We worked so hard for it in 1986," said Ware.
Landrum Hale is no longer with us. Montgomery police records show Hale died about a year and a half ago, stabbed to death in a domestic dispute.
Sykes, meantime, is making an attempt to return the ring to Hale's family. Sykes called from his office at school but didn't get an answer.
A remarkable discovery, a bittersweet moment for Larry Ware.
"I would love to give it back to him," Ware said.
Back at the Bell Street Church it's not clear how the ring got into the choir loft. The church is up for sale and we're told Landrum Hale never lived near the church.
"When I saw it I thought somebody's going to be glad to get this back," Goins said.
Only if it were that simple.