Shupe Discovers a Maroon Bond
Class Ring Returned To Hokie After 30 Years
When something is lost for 30 years, the owner assumes the item won't be found. That's where Bob Shupe, Roanoke College staff member, came in for Keith Hawkins. The men never before had crossed paths or even heard of each other but when Shupe came across something that Hawkins had been missing for a long time, the two men were immediately connected.
Shupe was grading for walkways in front of the new Market Street complex when he saw something shiny in the dirt. Shupe and his co-workers often find objects in the course of their work, but usually not anything of value. Shupe took a closer look at the shiny object and saw that it was a ring - a class ring, to be exact. After work, Shupe washed the ring and quickly noted its owner: Keith Hawkins, Va. Tech class of 1979, and a social security number.
With the help of his wife Sherri, Shupe tracked down the owner on the internet. Hawkins, now executive vice president at Suffolk First Bank in Suffolk, Va., graduated from Virginia Tech in 1979 and was a brother in the Pi Kappa Phi chapter there. He came to Roanoke in the winter of 1979 for a fraternity party and bonfire. It was snowing lightly on campus as the students played football, and somehow Hawkins lost his class ring. He went back the next morning in hopes of retrieving his ring, but the ground was covered with several inches of snow. The ring was nowhere to be found. Hawkins returned to Roanoke a week or two later to look for the ring again, but the search was to no avail.
Hawkins spent the last 30 years without his ring. That's why he was more than surprised when he got a call from Shupe, asking if he was from Virginia Tech's class of 1979. Hawkins first reaction was, "Oh no, what did I do?" but as soon as Shupe said,"I work at Roanoke College, and I found your class ring," Hawkins was overjoyed.
Bob and Sherri Shupe decided to personally deliver the class ring to Hawkins a few days after the ring was discovered, and Hawkins was glad the Shupes came to Suffolk. They thought about shipping the ring but knew that Hawkins had already lost the ring once and didn't want to risk it again. Hawkins told everyone in his office about his class ring being found, and when the Shupes went to Suffolk, the men took a few pictures together with the ring. "I enjoyed talking to Bob and Sherri as much as I enjoyed getting the ring back," Hawkins said.
In the past few years, as Hawkins' children received high school and athletic rings, Hawkins thought about his lost class ring. Now that the ring is back in Hawkins' hands, he has cleaned it but needs to get it resized. "The ring is in great shape," says Hawkins, who was a little surprised that it was in such good condition. Hawkins is thrilled to have his ring back, and the Shupes were glad to do him the favor. Hawkins plans to stay in touch.
"A lot of people wouldn't have gone to that much trouble," he said. "If the ring had to be lost anywhere, I'm glad it was at Roanoke. If it had been lost in Charlottesville, I probably wouldn't have gotten it back," he chuckled.