Ruth Pendergraft married her husband after a whirlwind romance, a truckman in the Army. He was sent to Vietnam and died after an explosion. The Army could only send Ruth his belongings, and she's kept them in a trunk for the last 48 years.
"And when the(y) sent me his belongings, his personal belongings, which didn't amount to much, you don't need a whole lot in Vietnam, but among his items was a West Point military academy graduation ring from 1953. I knew he didn't go there, he was 11 years old in 1953," Pendergraft said. "The first thing that came to my mind was the person who owned the ring, must have been killed in that area at the same time, and somehow or another the army got things mixed up and I ended up with the ring."
Ruth put the ring back and forgot about it for nearly five decades. Recently when she found it again, she began a quest to reunite the West Point Ring w/ its owner. She went to get it appraised in a jewelry store in Neosho, MO. Pendergraft was unsure how her husband ended up with the ring.
""The only other idea I had was, he might have won it in a poker game. But then I thought, no, nobody that graduated from West Point military academy would have put their ring up unless they had a darn good poker hand. Or had a little bit too much to drink," Pendergraft explained.
Ruth figured that given the graduation date on the ring, the owner was probably no longer alive, but with the help of the internet and the West Point Ring Recovery Programs, Ruth found that the owner was very much alive.
It took just one day for the owner to be found and contacted.
"And he said, well what do you want to do with the ring?" And I said well there's no doubt in my mind it's his ring and he needs to have it back."
Ruth had a few stipulations, she wanted to personally return the ring to its owner and hopefully figure out how the ring was among her late husband's belongings.
"Once I knew the man was alive there was never any doubt in my mind I just think it's amazing, I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that we would find the person and that he'd still be alive."
With no better timing that Veterans Day, Ruth decided it was the perfect time to return the ring in person.
"He lost his ring in Vietnam, I lost a hsuband. He got his ring back but I don't get my husband back. But he deserves to have his ring back."
And that's exactly what this widow from Anderson, MO is going to do.
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