U.S. veteran seeking help to find Naval Academy class ring

Published: Jul. 7, 2018 at 9:11 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2018 at 5:11 PM CDT
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A United States veteran is asking the public for help to find his Naval Academy class ring.

"I will look until I can't look anymore, ya know," Lieutenant Commander William Parks said.

In 1954, William parks left Texas for the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland.

"I knew I wanted to go to the Naval Academy since I was 14-years-old," Parks said.

For two years, the class of 1958 designed their ring.

"Your class starts designing the class crest and every class crest is different and on the other side of the ring is the Naval Academy crest," Parks said.

At the beginning of year three, parks and his classmates were promoted to first classman. An honor he says he will never forget.

"All your first classman year, they call them ring knockers because they hit the glass pane of the window," Parks said. "Bang, bang, you know, to let them know you' re coming in, and you wear it that year, and forever after."

But as of Tuesday, Lt. Commander Parks is no longer a ring knocker. The last time he remembers wearing the ring was at Posados in Tyler on Monday night.

"They have a set of rings in the Naval Academy Museum, one for each year," Parks said. "They would probably, if I asked, send me a ring, but it's not my ring, not my ring. I had my ring for 60 years and wore it every day."

Parks says the ring represents the 20 years of active duty he spent in the Navy and the connection with others who have served. Even those he meets right here in East Texas.

"I had a younger fella come up to me and said 'what class were you?'" Parks said. "'I said '58,' I said 'how did you know I was in the Naval Academy?', he said 'the ring, he said I'm 64.' We're like a fraternity, not many people get in."

As for the ring with the sapphire blue stone.

"It's my heart, it's my ambitions, that's it's a significant achievement," Parks said. "The ring means everything."

The ring is gold with a blue sapphire stone with "William Harley Parks, United States Naval Academy, 1958 engraved on the inside. If you find the ring, parks ask you contact him through his niece on Facebook.

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