The Ringfinder: Southernmost Metal Detector Returns Coast Guard Academy Class Ring Lost Decades Ago

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Almost every day after work, Alex Corpion goes to the beach in Key West in search of treasure. Recently he was in the water just off Smathers Beach on the island’s Atlantic coast. A friend who is also a metal detector told him about a woman who inquired about a diamond ring she lost while snorkeling in the area.

“So he tried to look for it, he didn’t find it that day. He told me about it. That day I was there looking for that ring and I got it. actually found that Coast Guard ring, ”Corpion said. It was a Coast Guard Academy class ring and it turned out to have been there for quite some time.

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“I remember the ring slipping off my finger, probably in chest deep water. And I looked around a bit and I was unlucky and thought then that’s the end of it. We’re never going to find that. I pretty much gave up and moved on, “said captain Erich Klein.

Klein said he was in Key West during spring break around 1992, fooling around in the water with friends.

“It was overwhelming, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s an object that can be replaced,” he said. And he hadn’t had the ring so long.

“At the Academy, they have miniature rings that you get your junior year that you usually give to a loved one or significant other. At the time, I didn’t have anyone in particular to give them to and the The next year you get the “a real” ring, which is bigger and the one you wear after you graduate and for the rest of your life, ”Klein said.

Alex Corpion

The Coast Guard Academy ring has spent three decades underwater in Key West – and recently found its owner.

This spring break trip was not Klein’s last to Key West.

“I was on a patrol boat in Key West from 2000-2002 as the commander. And so I had been around the island for those two years and I went back to the beach and thought to myself. flashed through my mind – “Hey, I lost a ring here ‘- and I laughed a little bit about it,” Klein said. “Thought I would never see him again.”

This was not Corpion’s first foray into finding rings or jewelry, and he followed his usual methods of trying to reunite the ring with its owner.

“I went to Facebook and the Lost and Found Class Ring. I also went to our Key West Lost and Found page,” Corpion said. He also asked a metal detector friend in Marathon for help.

“I sent him the name that was in the ring. The name was very difficult to understand with the cursive script they were using. It was almost like a signature so we had a hard time trying to find the name. family, ”Corpion said. mentionned. “But eventually Trevor found him for me and he sent me the information, his work phone numbers. I was able to call the phone number, I got his message machine, I got him. left a message he recalled my call and that’s how we got in touch. “

Klein said he was impressed with the efforts of Corpion and others to find him.

“It certainly gives you confidence that people are doing the right thing. Alex seems to have a genuine interest in helping people find the things they’ve lost and that’s certainly an admirable quality,” a- he declared. “The Coast Guard is a small, tight community and there are a lot of people who saw that there was a ring that needed to find its owner and took immediate action to try to find me.”

Klein didn’t have a partner to give the ring to when he lost it, but he has it now.

“My wife found out I had this long lost ring that she probably didn’t know was missing and it appeared today with FedEx delivery,” Klein said. “And when I got home from work, she was wearing it.”

Klein now works at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington DC and lives in Maryland. Corpion’s day job, when he can’t find long-lost rings, is at Frank’s Plumbing in Key West.


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