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FOX6 learns Air Force Academy ring found in Walworth County belonged to cadet who died at 21

WALWORTH COUNTY -- FOX6 News has learned more about an Air Force Academy class ring found in Walworth County -- and to whom it belongs.

"He's the little guy with the glasses. Third one in. Phil was an outstanding individual. Coming from a small town like this, I mean, Phil was going to be something," said Guy Castleberry.

Philip Vandervelde

Guy Castleberry

Castleberry hadn't thought of his childhood friend Philip Vandervelde for years, until Christmas, when he heard Vandervelde's name on the news.

"It's real special. Hopefully we find this guy," said Jim Hegemann.

Jim and Julie Hegenamm found Vandervelde's Air Force Academy class ring in an old rental property, and they've been looking to reunite it with its owner, without success.

Castleberry knows why.

Phillip Vandervelde

"It was just kind of a shock to everybody -- that Phil had been killed in an automobile accident out in Colorado," said Castleberry.

Vandervelde died in a crash when he was just 21 years old. He was a cadet at the Air Force Academy.

Phillip Vandervelde

"It's kind of crazy to think back that this has been 50 years," said Castleberry.

Though time has passed, Castleberry said his friend was on a path to greatness. He said he's proud to share his friend's memory, and help piece together this mystery.

"I'm sure that Phil would've done it for me. He was a great guy and I'm just kind of returning the favor," said Castleberry.

Now that we know who Vandervelde was, we're looking for living relatives, particularly his younger brother. FOX6 News has reached out to the Air Force Academy and several childhood friends -- trying to get this ring into the right hands.