Caitlin "Cait" Shields '11 February 26, 2018 2:53 PM updated: May 16, 2018 3:46 PM
Alisa Hauser sent in the story of how her family found her late husband's lost Aggie Ring, years after it was stolen--the same Ring her daughter would wear to her graduation from Texas A&M.
You can read the story in Alisa's own words, and then her daughter's, below:
Kevin [Michael Hauser '90] and I got married in July 1999. He moved me and my daughter, Kate [Katherine Martinez Hauser ’17], to Dallas, Texas, and immediately began inducting us into the Gig 'em Whooping Fightin’ Texas Aggie cult.
The “initiation” involved all-Aggie-sports-all-the-time, learning what in the world phrases like “Howdy” and “that’s good bull” mean, that giving a thumbs up is not done properly if not accompanied by “gig 'em,” and of course the quintessential sawing of varsity’s horns.
I knew his beloved Alma Mater was important to him, but didn’t understand just how much until the Bonfire tragedy in October 1999. Being a member of the Corps, Kevin had stood on those same posts, gone through the same routine with all his friends. To see this happen to his legacy was heartbreaking. I began to get it.
Now, Kevin was smart enough to know that just watching a football game on television is not enough to understand the meaning of the traditions. You have to see the sea of maroon, hear the chants of the yell leaders, smell the sweat of the crowd in the hot, hot, HOT stands, and emphatically wave the 12th Man towel declaring that yes, indeed, you would actually don a uniform and proudly take a position on the field if called upon.
When Kate was 4, Kevin took her to her first Aggie football game. As soon as they walked in the stadium, the Aggies scored and the cannon fired, scaring sweet Kate. She screamed and cried, and Kevin selflessly left the stadium to watch the game from a TV across the street.
In 2003, I was the Events Chair for the Virginia Tech DFW alumni association when the team came to College Station to play the Aggies in their first football game. We planned a massive tailgate where hundreds of Hokies descended on campus. To our surprise and delight, the Aggies were welcoming and the best of sports, greeting us with a hearty “Howdy” each and every time. Even when the Hokies won the game 35-19, the spirit of sportsmanship and goodwill continued. I was amazed. I finally got it.
In the summer of ’05, Kevin had his Aggie Ring stolen at the gym.
Later that year, on December 7, 2005, he passed away suddenly.
Kevin Hauser '90 poses in his Corps of Cadet uniform.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when our good friend and neighbor Andrea Young ’89 registered us for Muster. I’m not even sure how so many buddies of Kevin’s from the Corps knew to show up for us. When Kate and I walked in to a table full of Aggie friends, I was comforted. When it came time to call his name and all his friends said, “Here,” my daughter and I both broke down in tears. It was the most special way to honor my husband and his dedication to the community he loved.
My daughter Kate had always known she wanted to be an Aggie like her dad. But Aggie Muster 2006 left no doubt of that determination. She knew that part of being an Aggie is that one day she would wear the ubiquitous Aggie Ring, so it was sad that we didn’t have Kevin’s Ring to serve as a visual sign of their joint Aggie pride … until October 2010.
Kate was a sophomore in high school and we were beginning to look into the admission process at Texas A&M. One day, when I was on the computer researching, the phone rang and the caller ID said Texas A&M. Thinking that it couldn’t be a coincidence, I answered.
When the woman on the other side asked me if I was Mrs. Hauser, I immediately burst into tears. “Mrs. Hauser? Mrs. Hauser?” she asked.
I replied, “You have our Ring.”
Miles away in Dallas, Elizabeth Mooneyham was having a new fence put in her yard when one of the workers digging a hole hit something with his shovel. Digging around for the source, he found an Aggie Ring buried deep in the ground. When he brought it to her to see if it was hers, she was shocked because no one in her family had gone to Texas A&M. When she looked inside the Ring for a name, she gasped when she saw the name "Kevin" inscribed inside. Her son Kevin had passed away 10 years previously and she just knew immediately that there was a connection. She knew she had to find the owner of the Ring.
When she contacted [The Association of Former Students], she was even more convinced she was doing the right thing when she was informed that our Kevin had also passed away. She requested [they] contact me so that we could get in touch with each other and she could return our Ring to us.
It was an emotional day to meet her and her family and be reunited with our Aggie in a special way. Many tears were shed as we exchanged stories of loves lost and joy found.
Two years later, as Kate was looking forward to beginning to her own Aggie adventure, things seemed to hit a roadblock when she was not accepted to Texas A&M on her first application. However, there was no Plan B. Resolutely, she attended Collin College for her first year, worked tenaciously, and applied to A&M again. The day she received her acceptance package was filled with much laughter and tears. Such joy to have achieved her dream, such sadness at not getting to share it with her dad.
My first day on campus was surreal. Seeing the school I had dreamed about, knowing Dad had walked there … just surreal. I spent most of my days in Blocker, where the Department of Communication was housed, located right next to the Industrial Distribution building, his major.
I never felt closer to my dad than I did at A&M. Passing his building, making special trips to the Corps Center to see his brick, and participating in as many traditions as I could, I worked hard to earn the biggest symbol of Aggie pride. The Ring.
When it was finally Ring Day, I asked my grandfather, Bob “Ppaw” Hauser, to present my Ring for me. When Dad was in school, Ring Day wasn’t quite the ceremonious occasion it is now, and all Dad had to do was pick up the Ring and walk away. Knowing his parents were with me when I received my Ring, I felt honored to have Ppaw place the Ring on my hand. He cried, I cried, we all cried.
Even more special was graduation, getting that diploma and further cementing our Aggie bond. As graduation loomed closer and closer, I swore I was going to graduate on his birthday, May 13, 2017. Wouldn’t that be so special? But graduation dates were released and my ceremony missed his birthday by two days.
I walked the stage with my head held high, and wore Dad’s Aggie Ring so he could be with us on this momentous day. I got that beautiful diploma, beaming, and as I sat down to look at it, I found a wonderful surprise. The diploma didn’t show the current date, May 11, but rather May 13. His birthday.
My dad has shown my family so many signs over the years that he still watches over us, loves us, and is so proud of all of us, but never had I gotten a sign so big. His birthday, my graduation, our final Aggie bond. I could almost hear him say, “I love you, KJ.”
* * *
Want to help an Aggie get their Ring? Visit tx.ag/RingScholarships to learn how.