Metal detecting enthusiast Howie Rosser officially began his hobby in 2014, although treasure hunting had been a dream of his since childhood.
So one day last winter, on Superbowl Sunday to be exact, while most people were snug in their homes preparing to watch the game, former Army First Lieutenant Howie Rosser decided to go treasure hunting in a cleared lot of land (between West Thompson and West Lincoln, just off of Main) with his Garrett AT Pro metal detector.
And before the Patriots earned their next Super Bowl ring, Rosser found quite a special one of his own. It was a 10K gold class ring from Sapulpa High School Class of 1961 inscribed with the initials “DJH.”
A dedicated metal detector enthusiast, such as Mr. Rosser, has a strict ethical code that prevents him from simply saying, “Finders keepers” and pocketing his new treasures. Rather, when a true hobbyist discovers a valuable or sentimental item, he follows the accepted etiquette that one must do one’s best to return said item to its original owner, or his next of kin.
Of course, sometimes that can be a rather difficult undertaking. Fortunately, in this case, the ring provided both the high school graduation year and the owner’s initials.
Rosser contacted the Sapulpa Historical Society Museum who was able to provide him with a 1961 Sapulpa High School yearbook. Oddly enough, only one senior had the initials D.H. – David J. “Sonny” or “Hot Rod” Hughes.
His last known address was also easily obtained, but upon further investigation, sadly, Rosser discovered from his obituary that he had died the previous summer.
But from this obituary, Rosser was able to locate Hughes’s youngest daughter, Sonni Jo Washington, who lives in Louisiana.
He explained what he had discovered and that he found her so he could take steps to get the ring in her possession.
However, Ms. Washington graciously urged Rosser to keep the ring since it was his first big find. She was thankful that he made the effort to find her and to reach out to her. Washington and her father had never had a particularly close relationship, but she had attempted to visit him in his nursing home when told that his health had made a turn for the worse.
Unfortunately, Hughes passed away before she was able to complete the trip from her home in Louisiana to his facility in Sapulpa.
While talking on the telephone to Rosser, Ms. Washington confided that for a few weeks she had been having some sleepless nights when she would lie awake filled with regret over not having made it to see her father before he died. She spent most of those nights praying to him about these regrets.
But somehow learning of this buried treasure, unearthed after over 50 years, and talking to Rosser about this man she hardly knew, brought her a sense of peace and acceptance that finally allowed her to accept her loss. She felt a kind of unexplainable connection that allowed her to experience relief and closure.
Almost more than the ring, Ms. Washington appreciated the senior photo of her father that Rosser sent her that she had never seen before. She was touched that a stranger would take the time to find her, call her, and talk to her about the things he had learned about her father. In fact, Washington and Rosser have remained friends through social media. Seems like metal detecting can be quite a valuable hobby indeed.
Howie has helped others with his ring rescue and relic recovery skills. “I will help you find your lost ring, bracelet, necklace, charm, earring, or key. In the water, on the land, in the mud, or in the sand—I’m the one to lend you a hand!” Call Howie Rosser “Triple H” 918-671-1745.