February 22, 2012 - It started out as a great bargain at a yard sale, but now it's turned into something of a personal quest for Frank Fogg.
The 63-year-old resident of Joplin, Missouri is looking for the original owner of a 1978 class ring from Indianwood Christian Academy, which used to operate in Oxford Township. It's sterling silver with a light blue stone in the center and it bears the initials T.B.R.
"I would say it's a man's ring," Fogg said. "It's a pretty good size."
Fogg found the ring at a yard sale about a year ago. It was mixed in with a box of assorted items. Seeing its potential value as far as silver content, he bought it.
"It sterling silver, so it's worth way more than what I paid for it, which was like a couple of bucks," he said.
But a funny thing happened. Fogg started thinking about the ring and he began to view it as someone's personal momento as opposed to a potential profit.
"I got to looking at it and I thought, 'Well, this is somebody's class ring and maybe they'd like to have it back,'" he said. "I put myself in somebody else's shoes and decided to see if I could find out who it belongs to."
Fogg, who was born and raised in Joplin, knows what it's like to lose a class ring. Years ago, he lost his 1966 Joplin High School ring.
"I thought, 'Well, if somebody ever found it, maybe they'd be nice enough to return it to me,'" he said. "So far, that hasn't happened yet."
Fogg is a Vietnam veteran, who served in the Marines from 1968-72 and even spent some time as a prisoner of war after being shot down in a Huey helicopter. He's a semiretired electronic technician, who specialized in two-way radio systems. Fogg returned to Joplin in 1983 and has lived there ever since.
Fogg did some internet research on Indianwood Christian Academy (ICA), but couldn't find much to go other than its connection to Oxford, Michigan.
"It was a dead-end," he said.
That's because ICA no longer exists. It used to be operated by Bible Baptist Church and located at 1100 S. Baldwin Rd., near Stanton Rd. Today, only the church remains there.
According to Pastor Ed Kovalchuk, who's served at the church for about 20 years, ICA opened somewhere around 1970 and closed around 1995.
After calling the Oxford Village Police Department, who told him the school had closed, Fogg decided to call another local school seeking help.
"I called Oxford High School and they suggested that I call (the Leader)," he said.
In talking to Pastor Kovalchuk, the Leader learned that the church has no record of any student with the initials T.B.R. graduating from ICA in 1978.
"We would have the records if he graduated," he said. "Anybody that graduated, we would have their permanent file here.
"He must have got a class ring and then left here, transferred or something before he graduated. You get your class ring in your sophomore year, usually."
Having struck out at the church, the Leader and Fogg are now turning to the public for help.
If you are the owner of this ring or have any information about the person who originally owned it or have an idea about how to track the owner down, please e-mail Fogg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fogg made it clear, he's not interested in earning any type of reward or selling the ring back to its original owner.
"I'm not looking for anything," he said. "I just think it would be nice to give it back to him."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.