By Ray O'Hanlon
This is a story about a ring that traveled full circle. And it's journey took about as long as a Tolkien tale - 64 years to be precise.
It's also a story about friendship, faith and fate. It has an unlikely beginning, but a very definite end. And for sure it's a good ending.
It concerns a ring lost in 1949 but very quickly found, safely secured, but only last weekend restored to its rightful owner, Arthur V. Gallagher, at the annual Power Memorial Academy Alumni Association Mass of Remembrance in New York.
Gallagher's ring was a 1949 Class Ring for the famed school, which no longer exists, but whose alumni march annually in the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade.
After graduating Power in 1949, Arthur Gallagher attended Manhattan College. While at college, he signed up for a Marine Corps Platoon Leader program for college students in 1952. He went to Parris Island for his training and lost his Power ring while there. At the time, most of the instructors were combat vets from Korea.
Robert F. Kelly was at Parris Island at the same time as Arthur V. Gallagher and he found, in the sands, the Power Memorial ring. Kelly was a Korean combat veteran and survivor of the infamous Battle of the Chosin Reservoir where he had been assigned to Baker 1/7, of which 300 went in and only 27 survived, Kelly being one of them.
Robert Kelly held on to the ring after not being able to find its owner. But he knew that one day he would return the ring to that rightful owner.
He did not live to do so, but his nephew, Mark Mayhue, stepped up.
After Robert Kelly passed away, Mayhue took care of the estate and found the ring among his uncle's possessions. His curiosity aroused, he researched the ring and found the Power website.
He could not figure how his uncle, who lived in Chicago all of his life, came across a ring from a New York City school. He did not know of the Parris Island connection.
The ring had a clue, however. "AVG" was engraved inside it.
Through the Power website, Mayhue located Arthur V. Gallagher's name in the 1949 class roster, and through some emails found Chick Pisani, President of the Power Memorial Academy Alumni Association.
"I did some research and found Arthur, who lives locally," said Pisani.
After a few phone calls we decided to meet for lunch. After speaking with Mark, it was decided to present the ring to Arthur at this Mass and have Bishop Gerald Walsh, Power Class of 1959, bless it." This he did at the Mass at St. Paul the Apostle Church 60th St and Columbus Avenue in New York last Saturday, March 9.
"This was a very emotional and joyous event. After 60 years, Arthur's ring was returned due to the actions of a very honorable Marine and his family," Pisani told the Echo.