WESTFIELD, NJ — Sherry Cronin knew finding her engagement ring and an accompanying earring that found their way in the garbage would be a challenge, but she tried anyway — and her trip to the incinerator paid off.

Cronin, who has been married to her husband, John, for 25 years determined that the ring had gone out with the garbage Friday morning and so over the weekend called up her garbage hauler, A&S Sanitation Services, to see if there was something they could do.

“I’m kind of panicked,” Cronin said recalling her call to the garbage company. “I’ve been married for 25 years. I’m not going to get another ring like that.”

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Cronin said she had wrapped the diamond hoop earring and engagement ring in a paper towel for transport and the paper towel — along with the jewelry — mistakenly went out with the trash.

The Scotch Plains-based garbage hauler was able to track down the truck that picked up garbage based on her address and learned that the truck had broken down and had not dumped its load before the Memorial Day weekend.

So, on Monday morning, Cronin visited the Union County Resource Recovery Facility — a garbage incinerator in Rahway — where workers dumped the truck and within minutes found her garbage bag, and the jewelry.

“The first bag that he pulled out I was like oh my God, that’s my garbage,” said Cronin, who added: “There was my ring and my earing, so I’m incredibly lucky.”

Cronin, who is the former executive director of Downtown Westfield Corporation, was able to track down the jewelry even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Here I am all panicked about the pandemic: how do I protect myself and them from germs and everything else,” Cronin said. “And it literally took just a few minutes to find it.”