This Friday the 13th was a lucky one for a West Babylon couple and a group of Town of Babylon sanitation workers.
Not only did the workers help find Vicky Salzone’s wedding rings in the local dump, but it’s also the second time in three months that some of the same town employees have found a “needle in a haystack,” town officials said.
“I really couldn’t believe it,” said Salzone, 58.
Salzone was putting away Christmas decorations Thursday night when she tossed a stack of old items in a garbage bag, not realizing her three rings were in the mix.
When she got up the next morning, she and her husband of 34 years, Joe Salzone, realized the rings were gone. Joe Salzone said he had a feeling he knew where the rings were.
“I had had a dream when I heard the garbage trucks outside, I had this feeling that I should stop them because something is wrong,” Joe Salzone, 57, said. “I called the town and said ‘I think my wife’s rings are in the garbage.’ ”
Ed Wiggins, sanitation site crew leader, was on the receiving end of Salzone’s calls and knew exactly what to do. Two months earlier, his employees had been in the same position when Colleen Dyckman, 48, of North Babylon, reported her wedding rings were en route to the sanitation burn plant. After a four-hour search through piles of trash, the team found her lost jewelry.
Wiggins said he was skeptical whether they would replicate their success from November. In his 40 years in town sanitation, he has been called to help in only a dozen or so cases where objects of sentimental value landed in the garbage. Most of those objects stayed lost.
“I said ‘Joe, it’s Friday the 13th and we just found someone’s rings. I don’t know if we can do this two times in a row,’ ” Wiggins, 61, of Lindenhurst, said.
Wiggins said he diverted the truck to the Town of Babylon Recycling Center in West Babylon, the same yard they used on Nov. 14 to find Dyckman’s rings. At around 8 a.m. Friday, Joe Salzone, Wiggins and a handful of sanitation employees started searching.
Wiggins has a strategy to finding lost items. He asked the truck drivers to dump small sections of the trash — instead of the whole load at once — to pinpoint the right bag.
“Within 20 minutes, I found the bag from my house,” Salzone said. “I knew the type of garbage bag I used, and they knew where mine would be because of my address.”
Vicky Salzone began to weep when her husband called her to say he had found the rings.
Wiggins praised Joe Salzone for his determination — most people are reluctant to wade into a pile of garbage, he said.
“He wanted the rings that were blessed at his wedding,” Wiggins said. “I gotta give the guy credit, he jumped right in there.”
Joe Salzone said he is just grateful to have the rings back and a hot shower, and for the sanitation workers’ help. He and his wife are providing lunch for the employees next week.
“They’re good people at the town,” he said. “They do dirty work, but they are just absolutely wonderful.”