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Social Media Outreach Helps Locate Owner Of Class Ring
1 ring
Legal Coordinator Marissa Cabral smiles as she shows Gregory Martin Vencill his class ring; the two connected on FaceTime this past week after Vencill was found to be the owner of a 1964 Harlingen High School ring that was found in a drawer at The Oakdale Leader office. Marg Jackson/The Leader

While there is plenty of downside to today’s social media, it can also be used for good.

Case in point; a high school class ring, circa 1964, is on its way back to its rightful owner, who was found following an outreach on a variety of social media platforms.

The ring, from Harlingen High School in Texas, was originally found in an envelope several years ago at The Oakdale Leader office but then just tucked away in a drawer. When it resurfaced recently, Legal Coordinator Marissa Cabral decided to find out what she could about the ring, its history … and perhaps, locate its owner.

As luck, and fate, would have it, a distant cousin of Cabral’s lives in Harlingen and saw a video that Cabral posted on social media and made contact; indicating she would try to get information from that school’s alumni committee. There were initials inside the ring and, after a series of fortunate events, the ring was determined to belong to Gregory Martin Vencill. He no longer lived in Texas, having relocated to Oklahoma. But with contact information provided, Cabral made the phone call this past week, connecting with the man who had lost his class ring decades ago.

“I was in the Navy from 1964 to 1968,” Vencill shared, noting that he was in California during a portion of that time but was in Oakland, San Francisco and San Diego.

“But that’s it,” he said, never having visited Oakdale.

Cabral’s first phone call was not answered, as she called from the office phone, then she tried to reach Vencill via cell phone, which he did answer.

He didn’t answer the first call, he said, because it indicated “possible scam.”

As Cabral explained the meaning for the call, Vencill said he remembered losing the ring but never anticipated seeing it again. He wasn’t even sure exactly when or where he lost it, and how it ended up in The Oakdale Leader office nearly a decade ago is also still a mystery.

But the now 75-year-old Vencill was excited about hearing how the search was conducted and grateful for the efforts expended to track him down. He now lives in Ponca City, Oklahoma, about 25 miles south of Kansas.

“Yes, I would love to have it back,” he said, smiling, as he and Cabral chatted via FaceTime, making a connection across the miles.

His career path has seen him work in the shipyards in San Diego and doing construction work in a handful of states. Now retired, he said he stays busy doing projects around the house and joked that “I’ll be 95 before I finish” them all.

He played some sports in high school and said he and his wife have children and grandchildren and he is looking forward to having the ring back in his hands soon to show them.

This is the Harlingen High School, Class of 1964, ring that turned up in a drawer at The Oakdale Leader office; the owner – Gregory Martin Vencill – now lives in Oklahoma. Marg Jackson/The Leader