April 10th 2019 found Greenfield, Wisconsin residents, Christopher & Erica Hollman, dealing with a late winter snowfall. As Christopher brushed the snow from his car’s windscreen with his bare hand, he didn’t feel the loose-fitting wedding band leave his finger. Afterwards, it was while driving into town that he realized his ring was missing.
The couple spent hours looking up and down their driveway, in the snow, in the grass and foliage and along the sides of the road. Coats, pockets, shoes and boots were all inspected closely; every conceivable crevice explored. The Hollmans even reported the loss to their local police in case someone turned it in.
The days turned into weeks and the weeks into months. Still no ring. Then as the leaves began to drop, it seemed the ring was lost forever. Erica, however, continued to pray her husband’s ring would be found. The 14K white gold, heavily engraved love-token had been blessed by the couple’s priest at their wedding 4 years before.
I received an email from Erica on November 6th, nearly 7 months after the loss occurred. She documented the circumstances including their extensive search efforts. Like a forensic detective, her attention to detail was impressive!
I arranged to meet on location at the Hollman’s home the evening of November 25th. It was already dark when I arrived. Flashlights in hand, Erica and Christopher were keen to assist in any way they could.
Using Erica’s timeline and the position of Christopher’s snow-covered vehicle the day his ring went missing, I elected to search the foliage in a roundabout close by. As is often the case with an older establishment, the area was full of metal debris. I dropped golf balls to mark spots that needed investigation and Erica and Christopher followed behind on their knees scouring through the matted grass, weeds and leaves.
My detector of choice was a trusty XP Deus with a high frequency elliptical coil as well as a wireless probe which is used to pinpoint the exact location of a target in difficult terrain such as tall grass, rocks and bushes.
About an hour passed with only tin foil and bits of aluminum to show for our efforts. I explained how a search was a matter of eliminating areas, of knowing for certain where the ring was not. Moving systematically through the search area another signal registered with an appropriate pitch and conductivity number. It begged a golf-ball marker, but I decided to investigate it on my own. Parting the matted grass, a reflection from my flashlight caught my attention—it was Christopher’s ring!
I left the wedding band where it was, covered it over with some leaves, and called Erica. I wanted her to experience the joy of discovery and the answer to her prayers. Under pretense of teaching how the probe worked, she placed the headphones on her head and took the probe in her hand. I demonstrated by moving the probe towards my own wedding ring so Erica could hear the increased pitch and volume as the probe got closer. “That’s the sound we are looking for,” I explained. Then I invited her to check out the area where I knew the ring lay waiting.
Christopher hovered close, taking in the teaching moment along with his wife. As Erica moved the probe closer to the target, she heard the unmistakable sound again. Moments later, the long-lost love token was in Christopher’s hands!
I wish I had a video of the couple as they hugged and jumped for joy in one another’s arms. It was indeed a moment to celebrate! I think someone’s prayers were answered, don’t you?
TESTIMONIAL – We were nervous to invite a stranger to our property for any reason, no less to search for a valuable and important piece of jewelry. However we were also nervous that if an experienced and skilled person couldn’t find what we were looking for even with the right tools, we would be left with the reality that it was simply gone. Forever. Finally after over seven months of wondering, stressing and worrying, we were ready to face that possibility and put the issue to bed one way or another.
We found that Paul Humphreys was the Ring Finder who serves our area in Wisconsin. We prepared the $40 call-out fee (in the event that he could not find our item) and we decided on and prepared a reward amount we thought would be fair compensation if he was able to find what we were looking for. In doing this, we tried to imagine the highest amount we would be willing or able to pay, considering how long it might take and/or how difficult it might be. We also considered how much it would cost us to purchase a replacement and of course that any replacement wouldn’t have any of the sentimental value of the original. For our situation, we were worried the wedding ring we were looking for may not have been on our property at all, but may have instead ended up on the side of the road down our busy street, or worse. Then it was time: We said some prayers (again) and sent an email to Paul to really try to find what we were missing with the proper equipment and (hopefully!) a person who could help us.
We couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Not only did he find my husband’s distinctive ring in just over an hour, but he also took extra care to create a reveal experience for us that we will be able to look back on and remember fondly for the rest of our lives. I am deeply grateful that the Ring Finders website exists and that we found Paul, someone who so clearly and truly is looking to help others. After our experience with him I went back to the Ring Finders website and read through many of the stories again that he’s been able to tell, and I can say for sure now that every word written must be true. He is an exceptional person with an incredible heart and we are honored to have been able to meet him.
If you are waiting to reach out to someone to help you find a precious, valuable, or cherished item, please contact Paul Humphreys right away. He is not only a skilled and experienced metal detectorist, he is also one of the kindest and most patient people we have ever met. If it can be found, I’m sure Paul can find it. We’ll definitely be hanging on to his number from now on!