TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)– In 1966, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Rolfe Arnhym was serving his country in Vietnam when the stone from his West Point class ring came loose.
“Something made me look down at my ring and I found the stone was missing. I said something to my radio operator and we looked at his feet and by gosh the stone was there!” exclaimed Arnhym.
While on leave in Hawaii, he went to have it fixed and was promised it would be mailed back to him soon. He never received it.
“I thought about it. I wondered about it. I had no idea where it could have been,” said Arnhym.
That was 49 years ago. Then in August, he received a phone call.
“I knew it had to be special to the owner, but in my mind, I didn’t think he was still alive!” said Ruth Pendergraft.
Pendergraft lives in Missouri and this summer, she decided to sift through her late husband’s belongings that she received from the army after he died in Vietnam.
“I just never got it out again over the years until I decided I had to go through some things and eliminate some things, so my children wouldn’t have to when I was gone!” said Pendergraft.
That’s when she came across the ring with the inscription: “Rolfe Arnhym”.
“I had to do something. I had to find the relative or the person who owned this ring. I couldn’t just stick it back in the trunk again!” said Pendergraft.
She contacted West Point and they put her in touch with the retired Army Lieutenant Colonel.
On Tuesday, she traveled all the way to Tampa to return that ring to its rightful owner.
“It’s a physical manifestation of a strong bond and link that exists between each graduate and West Point and with each one of our classmates. That bond only grows stronger over the years,” said Arnhym.
By the way, after 49 years, it still fits.