A replacement wedding band can always be purchased, but the original decade’s old symbol of love that marked the beginning of it all cannot be replaced. Read the testimonial below to find out what happened!
Ellen & I grew up in Westerly and Stonington. I moved to San Diego in 1983 with General Dynamics. I do software development for Qualcomm, Inc. We travel back to Westerly multiple times a year. This trip was unplanned, as it was attend the funeral service for my brother Lou. Lou passed away unexpectedly on Aug 2nd. I had been doing a lot of swim training the past few months, in preparation for a charity swim event. Here is a link about the charity a local News station did on the event this past weekend: http://www.cw6sandiego.com/hero-story-bridge-hope-swim-24/ I wanted to continue my swim training while in Westerly. Since the weather was nice, I decided to try ocean swimming instead of pool at the Westerly YMCA. The plan was to meet my niece, Kaitlyn, down at the Westerly Town Beach that morning (Tuesday) for some training.
In order to get additional exercise, I decided to ride an old 10-speed bike from Westerly to the beach. My wife had been insistent that she drive me down to the beach as opposed to me riding the bike. She was concerned with my safety, but I insisted and rode the bike. Once at the beach, I paced off the various distances from one end of the property to the other also noting the distances between lifeguard chairs. I started at the east end of the Town Beach in waist deep water. When I go surfing, I always put tape around my finger to prevent the ring from sliding off. When I did my swim training in the pools, my wedding ring would become loose, but I always managed to maneuver it back into place preventing it from sliding completely off my hand. After swimming only about 50 yards, I had a sinking feeling (pun intended) in my gut as I realized my wedding ring was no longer on my finger! I immediately stood up, turned to the shore to find a landmark to indicate where I had stopped. It was a sunny morning and nobody else was in the water. My first thought was that “I can find this”! I slowly and methodically made my way back to the starting point of my swim, then returned to my stopping point. I repeated this process for about 45 minutes, hoping and praying I might spot the ring or a reflection off the ring from the sun. I had no luck. I returned to my stopping point, then paced off the distance to the landmark I used when I first realized the ring was gone.
I biked back into Westerly. During the entire ride back to Westerly, I couldn’t stop thinking about how the ring had now been in the family for a couple generations and that I was the one to lose it, not to mention how my wife would react. I returned to our house and broke the news to my wife. She was naturally very upset by the news, since the ring was not only the representation of our love for one another but also part of our family history. She told me she had a bad feeling all along about the bike ride and swim. Maybe worth noting as to why my wife may have add the “bad feeling”… we were married at St. Michael’s church in 1986 and on Monday we drove by the church to see the construction progress only to see it leveled! We knew they were renovating the church, but were shocked to see it totally gone!
I next checked the tide schedule, hoping it wasn’t low tide. As you might have guessed, it was dead low tide when I lost the ring, meaning it would be under water for some time. I started to search the internet for waterproof metal detector rentals when I came across https://theringfinders.com. I had never heard of anybody doing this type of work. I found that Keith Wille (www.theringfinders.com/keith.wille ) was fairly local. I read his blog and suddenly got the feeling that there might be some hope. I contacted Keith via email. Keith responded very quickly and also conveyed his sympathy for our losses of my brother Lou and the wedding ring. He assured me that he has had success retrieving rings in water! We tried to schedule a meeting and retrieval the following day (Wednesday), but Keith’s schedule was already full. To complicate things a little, I had to return to San Diego on Thursday morning. Ellen was returning to San Diego a few days after me. Keith told me he would meet me Thursday anytime that was convenient and prior to me heading to the airport. So, as to not be without a wedding ring for the trip, Ellen and I went to Nigrelli’s Jewelry on Wednesday to purchase a potential replacement ring. I say potential because I had faith in Keith! J
Keith met my wife and I at 8am down at the town beach. It was sunny and the water was calm. My first impressions of Keith, when we exchanged text messages and phone calls, gave me a high level of hope that he was legitimate. When meeting Keith in person, my confidence level went way up that he would find the ring! Keith is clean-cut, professional, in good shape, and military looking. He told me that he teaches survival training to folks in the military & to pilots. Cool! Keith is also a commercial diver. Keith also maintained continuous communication since our initial contact. One thing I noticed on Keith’s ring finger, was a royal blue colored rubber ring. I asked him about it and he told me it was a silicone ring. He wore it when diving so he wouldn’t lose his ring! Interesting because Ellen and I had never seen nor heard of such an item.
Keith wanted to meet in person to have me physically show him my landmarks, repeat the description of my activities, and get a feel for the distance from the landmark to the water. I showed him the area of the beach/water, landmarks, and distances. At 8:30, we left the beach and headed to Green airport in Warwick. At that time, Keith was returning to his car to retrieve his equipment. Ellen and I had talked about Keith on the ride to Warwick and I told her I had faith in him. There were some good traits about him that gave me confidence! As soon as I checked my bags and got through TSA security, I received a text message from Keith. The text was sent to both Ellen and I. It was a picture of my ring! The picture clearly showed our inscription, so it was easily recognized. I called him immediately and when he answered, I said “I knew you’d find it!” Ellen was driving back to Westerly by this time and called me a short while afterwards. She drove straight to meet Keith at the Town Beach to get the ring. She said that the weather was so strange on the drive back from the airport into Westerly that morning. It went from a nice sunny morning, to heavy rain, thunder and lightning! I told her it was the power in that ring being unleashed because it wasn’t on the right finger!! J
Keith is GREAT!!! Keith found the ring so quickly. Keith took our loss to heart and went out of his way to meet with us on our schedule. Keith was very humble and gracious when accepting our gratitude. Please, please, please do not hesitate contacting Keith should you find yourself in a similar situation. Keith has a “page of smiles” on his website that has photos of some of the people he has helped – very heartwarming. Every time I tell someone this story and get to the part about Keith finding the ring, their facial expression is one of amazement. And rightly so! They are also intrigued by the work Keith does. Being reunited with our special ring is a blessing. Thank you Keith for making it possible!
If you lost something in a body of water and you’re worried it’s gone forever, please give me a call or send me a message. (252) 775-1307
Check out the awesome article from The Westerly Sun!