"I was just hoping, after this many years, that he would be alive," said Congi. "I wanted to give it back to him or at least his family. I was so excited to find out that he was alive."
Congi reached out to Mattos, whose wife had passed away just days before. Despite the sad timing, Mattos still had his sense of humor, and was shocked by the news.
"Doesn't sound like you've done too much maintenance in 72 years," Mattos joked to Congi, when he heard where and how his ring had been discovered.
Congi already had plans to visit his brother in Napa, Calif., just minutes from Vallejo, for the Easter weekend so he told Mattos he would deliver the ring himself.
"I could've just mailed it to him," Congi said. "But I wanted to be the one to give it to him."
Just a few weeks after the initial call, Mattos was reunited with his ring, courtesy of a hand delivery from Congi, whom Mattos greeted with a big smile on his face.
The two men talked for awhile and discovered they even had connections of their own.
Congi grew up living next door to Mattos' sister, who had been one of his first babysitters as a child. They also realized they had both been butchers in Dunsmuir at some point, and had mutual acquaintances.
"It was more than a treasure hunt," said Congi of the ring-returning process. "I was born and raised here, so there was history here."
"A lot of what I find, like coins, is so worn you can't make anything out," he added. "But this ring was perfect."