As Ring Day approaches thousands of Aggies prepare to get their Aggie Rings and check off another box on their A&M checklist. Natalie Cervantes, Class of 2009, won’t receive a new ring, but will be reunited with an old one.
Cervantes misplaced her Aggie Ring more than two years ago and assumed the ring had disappeared forever.
“I lost my ring in a bathroom two and a half years ago, and after it did not resurface for a week I assumed it had be stolen and more than likely sold/melted for the metal,” Cervantes wrote on Facebook. “Obviously for any Aggie, it’s a pretty awful feeling but I resigned myself to replace the ring at some point.”
This weekend, Cervantes will be given her original Aggie Ring after years without it.
A series of events was set into motion when San Antonio Police detective Angelica Leal, Class of 1997, stumbled upon the ring while out on her day off from work.
“The morning that I was off from work I was near a store that sells Alkaline Water next to the pawn shop and I was waiting for the store to open and thought, ‘Oh, the pawn shop is open, let me kill time,’” Leal said. “As soon as I entered the door the ring was just right there … I walked up and asked the lady if I could see the ring … The only reason I wanted to see the ring was to see if there was a name on the inside.”
Leal said she knew something was wrong when she noticed that the engraving on the ring was almost entirely etched out.
“I thought to myself, ‘There’s no way an Aggie would pawn their ring,’” Leal said. “When I saw that it was etched out I thought, ‘Wow this is definitely lost, stolen or something was criminally behind it.’”
Leal took a photo of the ring and shared it with fellow Aggies who worked with her. Leal said the photo spread like wildfire and eventually found its way to Clinton Haby, Class of 2002.
“I posted it up in [two] groups and both of them started taking off. It was kind of ridiculous; my notifications didn’t stop for like a week,” Haby said. “Everything else was getting buried in notifications by these two posts. I think they were shared close to 4,000 times or something like that. It’s great to see that.”
Clifford Dorn, Class of 1981, saw Haby’s post and took action to buy the ring and orchestrate a plan to bring it back to College Station. He contacted the pawn shop and told them he wanted to purchase the ring, then posted on Facebook asking for someone in the San Antonio area to pick it up for him. Avery Crenshaw volunteered.
“Long story short, I end up sending [Crenshaw] the money and she went up and picked up the ring and another Aggie, [Natalie Celeste ’13], said, ‘I’m going down to College Station on Sunday and I’d be glad to bring it up to you.’ So she carried it up here and I got it over to the ring office, and they went through their investigation and did all their magic CSI work and found out some of the letters in the name on the inscription that was still visible.”
Katherine Scarmardo, Class of 2009, contacted Cervantes saying they had a team looking at the engraving on what seemed to be a match for her ring.
“When she first told me the story I was extremely skeptical it was mine due to how long the ring had been gone ... She called me the following day to confirm it was my ring, and that the Association wanted to update the story with my name,” Cervantes said. “After that it’s been like living in a dream. I feel like I won the lottery.”
Dorn along with the rest of the people who helped get the Aggie Ring back to Aggieland will hand Cervantes her ring during Friday’s Ring Day ceremony.
Cervantes said the range of emotions she felt when she received that call spanned from surprise to gratitude to joy, and everything in between.
“It wasn’t so much that it came back, it was how it came back that impacted me the most,” Cervantes wrote. “You have this entire network of strangers working hard to return something to you. It is a very special feeling. You feel a part of something great, which all Aggies know, but it doesn’t hit you until something like this happens. I’m incredibly thankful to be a part of such a great university, and overjoyed to have my ring back.”