Craig Stump, 8, found half-century-old item at the beach
Patrick Tine, Times Union
SCHROON LAKE — Craig Stump was up to some time-honored summertime mischief when he made a remarkable discovery.
While he and his brother Keith were diving down to dig a little hole to trip unsuspecting bathers, a red gemstone caught the goggled 8-year-old’s eye. He picked it up and returned to the surface with a piece of treasure that had been lost for more than 50 years: a 1972 Colonie Central High School class ring.
“I wasn’t looking for anything,” he said. “I was just trying to dig a hole.”
He brought the ring back to shore and showed it to his mother, Randi Stump, who was “freaked out” by her son’s discovery until she realized what he had found.
Brief concern quickly turned to pride and curiosity.
“All Craig had on was his goggles and a swimsuit. No metal detector,” Randi Stump said.
The ring was in incredible condition for something that had been sitting in the silt of Schroon Lake, freezing and thawing every winter and spring for five decades. The school’s crest was set on top of the red gem and a relief of the school building was on the side. But, most crucially, a name was engraved on the inside of the band: Steven Haberland.
The search to find him was brief.
Randi Stump took to Facebook and within days of the July 11 find had connected with Haberland, who now lives in Wapiti, Wyoming.
In an astonishing coincidence, Haberland, 69, was actually going to be in the Capital Region within days for a family reunion. A week later Haberland met Craig, Randi and many members of the extended Stump family on Schroon Lake beach to be reunited with what he had lost five decades earlier.
“I can’t believe it,” Haberland said.
Colonie students of that era received their rings in their junior year, Haberland recalled. “We wore them with the shield facing in and then turned them around after we graduated,” he said.
Though Haberland and the Stumps are strangers, they are united by a profound love of the outdoors and deep ties to the area. Haberland spent his summers on Schroon Lake and his grandmother’s camp in Medcalf Acres.
“I actually thought I lost the ring in Split Rock,” a waterfall 20 miles north of Schroon Lake, Haberland said.
Haberland drove for UPS in Clifton Park for 30 years and, inspired by the movie “Shane,” traded the Adirondacks for the Rockies and retired to the small town near Yellowstone National Park where he now volunteers as a guide and rides horses.
The Stumps are kindred spirits. Randi organizes the Word of Life Ranch Rodeo in Pottersville and her kids launch themselves headlong into the rapids of the Schroon River which abuts their property.
Craig rides a motorized dirt bike and winters are filled with snowboarding and hockey.
“Digging a hole in the lake is no big deal,” Randi said.
Haberland says he’s going to wear the ring.
“Just bought a lottery ticket, too” he said.
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