First photo: Riesel Foster Elementary School student Oreen Rosas is pictured with Principal Rick Ford, Stu Arledge ’86 and school employee Jane Kristen.
Second photo: Oreen Rosas poses with her father, Jonathan Rosas, and a stuffed Reveille that was a gift from Stu Arledge ’86.
Story by Kylene Helduser ’11
Tons of amazing Aggie Ring stories come through the halls of The Association of Former Students.
“It just slipped right off her finger while she was swimming in Hawaii…”
“Some ex-cadet found it in ’Nam and 40 years later…”
“So she gave the armed robber everything she had, but only after she’d hidden her Aggie Ring in a potted banana plant...”
Sometimes it’s as if an Aggie Ring turns into a Flat Stanley of sorts–seeing the world and meeting new people until some good Ag interrupts its adventures and sends it home to its rightful owner.
So meet Stu Arledge, Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 1986 and a senior account executive for Marriott Hotels. He is everything you’d expect from an Aggie: successful but humble, friendly, and full of life and love for his alma mater. The beginning of his story is a bit painful, but—spoiler alert—we promise there’s a happy ending.
It all started 17 years ago with Ring No. 1 (yes, we’re going to number them just to keep track) when Arledge was living in Farmer’s Branch, getting his start in sales. He treasured his Aggie Ring, sporting it
proudly and enjoying the many opportunities the Aggie Network offers.
But one day, during a “total rampage” robbery at his home, his Aggie Ring was snatched up along with his other valuables. “It was a huge letdown,” Arledge said. “To have what I thought would be my first and only Aggie Ring stolen was heartbreaking, because it meant so much to me. I know all Aggies are
probably as fond of theirs, just like me.”
Arledge bought Ring No. 2 just in time for his 1993 move to Waco. But more heartbreak was ahead. “Some buddies and I were out on the driving range one weekend, so I took off Ring No. 2 and set it on the green, because I decided I’d rather be safe than sorry. Well, isn’t it ironic ...
“I know any Aggie is smart enough to guess what happened next.”
After Arledge got home, exhausted from a day at the course, he finally realized that he hadn’t picked up his Ring. He rushed back to the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course, only to find Ring No. 2 was long gone. Feeling defeated, Arledge decided that he was just not destined to have an Aggie Ring.
Although he thought he was “done with Aggie Rings forever,” an opportunity to wear an extra special Ring No. 3 arose in May 2004, after his father, Bob Arledge ’68, passed away. “My mom had been saving his Ring for me after he died,” he explained.
“She told me that she knew Dad would want me to have it. It was incredibly special.”
Arledge came to think that Ring No. 3 might even be something of a lucky charm. “I had received my dad’s Ring the day before the t.u. game that year, and sure enough we beat them that weekend and the next year!” He proudly wore Ring No. 3 for six years.
And then, earlier this year, he received a phone call from Riesel Foster Elementary School employee Jane
Kristen. She told him his Aggie Ring had been found by Oreen Rosas, a fifth-grader at Riesel Foster, in her grandfather’s backyard in Hewitt while she was visiting over a weekend. She knew that Principal
Rick Ford was a proud Aggie, so she decided to take the Ring into school on Monday morning.
“The phone call was a total shock,” Arledge said. “After putting two and two together, I figured this was the Ring No. 2 that I had lost on the driving range.” After nearly 17 years of being lost, Ring No. 2 was
recovered in a different town, and no one knew how it had arrived there.
“The staff at Riesel Foster offered to mail it to me,” he said, “but with my bad luck, I told them ‘No way! I’m going to come pick it up myself!’” A few days later, he made the journey to Riesel.
After Oreen presented Arledge with his lost Ring, he took the opportunity to explain to her, and to the rest of her fifth-grade class, why his Aggie Ring—or rather, his Aggie Rings—meant so much to him. “I told them that when you get your Aggie Ring, it is a sign of all the things you accomplished there and all the things you will accomplish after college,” he said.
Oreen Rosas was inspired by the entire chain of events, and by what Arledge told her about Texas A&M and Aggie Rings. She was so inspired, in fact, that now hopes to attend Texas A&M and is excited to call herself a future former student.
It’s only about 10 miles from Waco to Hewitt, so Stu Arledge’s Aggie Ring No. 2 probably never traveled the globe or met important people in the 17 years it was missing. And 17 years isn’t even close to the
longest time an Aggie Ring has been lost before being recovered.
But that doesn’t really matter, because it is neither time nor distance that inspired us to pass along this story. Rather, it is Bob Arledge passing on his Aggie Ring, and his values, to his son.
It is Stu Arledge passing along those Aggie values, and his love for Texas A&M, to a classroom of fifth-graders whom he had never met before.
It is an honest, bright young girl who now sees her future at Texas A&M.
It is the Aggie Spirit.
Kylene Helduser is a student communications assistant at The Association of Former Students.