Sandy victim whose home was destroyed recovers 1976 class ring lost in the Bahamas

The same hurricane that took Robert De Vincenzi's home may have also returned the Staten Island man's long-lost keepsake.

De Vincenzi was still trying to recover from superstorm Sandy's devastation when he received a phone call two weeks ago from Wagner College, his alma mater. A school official told him a Missouri couple honeymooning in the Bahamas found the 1976 class ring he'd lost 35 years ago while on vacation.


The ring, which was encrusted in coral and covered with barnacles and seaweed, was discovered by Randy Wilkinson of Cape Girardeau, Mo., and his bride, Linda.

The couple later brought the ring to a Missouri jeweler who uncovered De Vincenzi's name inscribed inside. The Wilkinsons called Wagner College, which then tried to notify De Vincenzi, but the man's phone number was disconnected due to the hurricane, which destroyed everything inside his converted 1915 beach cottage -- just one block from the ocean.

When the college finally reached De Vincenzi, he said he was "overwhelmed" by the news.

"It was 35 years ago," he told "I was on vacation with my friend and we were in the water, splashing around, when the ring came off.

"How strange, the way God works," added De Vincenzi, who was reunited Wednesday with the ring at Wagner College -- also in Staten Island.

De Vincenzi’s home is just off Seaview Avenue in Staten Island’s Midland Beach neighborhood. The storm surge brought 12 feet of water into the house, destroying all of his belongings.

De Vincenzi said he was touched by a letter he received from Randy Wilkinson, in which the man wrote, "We cannot imagine how you have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, and what you have already gone through.

"I remember when we were sitting on the beach, I told Linda that, more than likely, Sandy washed the ring up. After talking to you today and hearing a little about Sandy’s impact on you, I am convinced that is the case. Maybe you lost your ring over 30 years ago so that I could be reminded that God cares about even the smallest things in our lives."