Lost, Found and the Long Way Home

When Tom Loucks lost his University class ring while vacationing in Hawaii last year, he was certain he would never see it again.

Loucks had been wearing the ring since purchasing it in 1970, the year he received his urban studies degree from Minnesota State Mankato.  

“I don’t ever recall having it off,” Loucks said.

On Nov. 18, Loucks was vacationing in Waikiki Beach when he realized he wasn’t wearing his ever-present ring. He and his friends scoured the sand but came up with nothing. They continued onto the next leg of their Hawaiian cruise.

The following day, 11-year-old Camille Ficklin was playing on the same beach. She was part of a family visit to Hawaii with 19 family members. Ficklin was playing in the surf when she ran her fingers through the sand and pulled up a ring. Engraved inside the ring were Loucks’ name and graduation date.

“Camille knew right off the bat that it was a special ring and that we needed to be able to find its owner,” said Monica Hudson, Ficklin’s aunt who was among the family members on the trip. “[Loucks] had had it for a long time, and it was obviously something very special.”

Hudson shared the story on Facebook, and her post was shared by friends and coworkers. Within hours, she said, one of Loucks’ former employees saw the post and connected with Loucks. From there, Loucks and Hudson found a way to send the ring back to Arizona. About one month after losing it in on the shores of Waikiki, the ring was returned to him in Minnesota.

“I was just surprised at how quickly we were able to find him through social media,” Hudson said.  “I thought for sure I’d have this ring and look at it and go, ‘I wish I could have found this guy…’”

After returning the ring, Hudson stayed in contact with Loucks, with the two families exchanging Christmas cards in December.

“That ring went from Minnesota to Arizona to Hawaii, was found by a person from Grand Junction, Colorado, and then back to me,” Loucks said.  “It’s just a kind of remarkable story of the integrity of people, I think, to do something like that and make that kind of effort.”