A decades-old class ring is being returned to its rightful owner thanks to Illinois American Water’s Village of Fisher wastewater service team.
According to Ron Ragle, Senior Supervisor of Operations in Fisher, he and a colleague were discussing operational changes when he noticed something shiny on the edge of the sludge lagoon. The lagoon houses biosolids and residuals from the treatment process.
Ragle said, “I cleaned up the ring and noticed it was from a community in which my coworker’s wife grew up. We all thought it would be great if we could find the owner and return the ring. It’s really a wonderful story and has provided a bright spot during these extraordinary times.”
The class ring provided the clues of the name Alli and Hoopeston High School. Luke Esteppe, Senior Supervisor of Operations for Champaign County, and his wife Jessica went to work on social media searching for the original owner as Jessica is also a Hoopeston graduate. In less than a day, they were able to locate the original owner, Alberta “Alli” Sheppard. To make the class ring reunion even more special, Sheppard was notified the week of her birthday about the unexpected gift.
According to Sheppard, the class ring was stolen in either 1990 or 1991 and she has no idea how it made its way to the Village of Fisher wastewater treatment plant, but she was glad to finally have it back. She said, “It’s really special to get something so meaningful back right now – near my birthday and during this pandemic.”
Ragle and his Illinois American Water team members were thrilled with the outcome. Ragle said, “There was no question about trying to return the ring. It was the right thing to do and a real team effort. We’re proud to be a part of this feel good moment.”
About Illinois American Water - Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
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