Video for Valentine's Day: A Pawned Wedding Ring Story Has a Happy Ending

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This is a great (love) story about how one of those locations, TowBoatUS Lake Chickamauga, Tennessee, got their start in the business when their owners, Capt. Shane O’Neal and Stacey O’Neal, pawned Stacey’s wedding ring to buy their first red towboat. Watch for the happy ending.

Capt. Shane and Stacey O'Neal

Stacey O’Neal and Capt. Shane O’Neal of TowBoatUS Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee.

“I said, why don’t you take my wedding ring and you can sell it.”

For a former firefighter low on cash and his new bride, starting an on the water towing business that helps recreational boaters get safely home wasn’t easy. It was 2008 and Capt. Shane O’Neal had no capital to purchase his first towboat, but his wife, Stacey, did have the wedding ring Shane had given to her. So in an act of love and sacrifice that resonates on this Valentines Day, Stacey gave Shane the ring to sell to a local pawn shop so he could buy the towboat, a 21-foot center console fully rigged for towing and salvage work.

Fast forward to 2014, and today the O’Neal’s are one of the most successful on the water towing companies in the BoatUS nationwide fleet of 300 locations and 600 towboats. After opening their first location on Lake Chickamauga, the O’Neals now have nine TowBoatUS locations from Tennessee to Florida and 12 red response boats – including the original towboat purchased with funds from the sale of the wedding ring.

However, recently Shane stopped back in the pawnshop to buy some ammo, and while casually looking at the display cases, saw Stacey’s ring. It had not sold in nearly five years. You’ll have to watch the video to see what happens next:


About BoatUS Towing Services:

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with a wide array of consumer services, including on water towing assistance provided by TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist. Combined, these two towing fleets offer boaters, anglers and sailors the world’s largest network of towing ports. Go to for more.

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D. Scott Croft
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