Gold Wedding Ring Lost, Found, and Returned on Indian Rocks Beach, Florida
While checking his email Thanksgiving morning, member Stan Flack saw a request for help finding a ring. A quick call and some info exchanged, Stan arranged to meet Enriwue and his sister Kitty at the beach. The rest Enrique tells in his own words.
During the Thanksgiving break, my family and I were visiting with relatives on Indian Rocks Beach. A number of my brothers and sisters, along with their families, were playing on the beach and enjoying the warm fall weather. Having just celebrated my birthday and looking forward to Thanksgiving the following day, I was elated to be in the company of family and couldn’t have been happier.
After throwing the football with my brothers and nephew for a few minutes, I looked down in shock to realize that my wedding band was not on my hand. I immediately called out to my family and we all began a search of the area. After nearly two hours of searching on hands and knees and with the sun setting, I asked everyone to halt the search until the morning. In reality, I knew that if we hadn’t found it by then, it was highly unlikely we would.
As a person who rarely misplaces items and never loses anything, I was devastated by the loss of my wedding band. My wife was very supportive and insisted that we could “replace” it with a new special ring, but I knew that was not the case. Years earlier, our wedding rings had been crafted from a single piece of platinum from a friend who was a jeweler. Her ring remained on her finger, but mine was somewhere on the beach or worse, in the sand beneath the surf.
On Thanksgiving morning, I woke up and my mind instinctively began to trace the steps I had taken before losing my ring. It was sickening to think that my ring was somewhere on that section of beach, but out of sight to my family and me. My wife and I began to research metal detectors on my laptop and tried to identify any store that might be open on the holiday. Within the first few minutes, we stumbled upon the website of the SRARC (Suncoast Research & Recovery Club). We were amazed by the stories people had shared regarding the recovery of their special items, specifically wedding rings. My wife decided to send an email to the group, suspecting that we would not receive a reply until after the holiday weekend.
To our surprise, she received a call on her cell phone within minutes. The man who called was Stan Flack, and he wanted to ask me a few questions about my ring. As I retraced my steps a day earlier with him over the phone he said, “well I live just minutes from that beach, I’ll meet you there in a few minutes.” I was astonished that anyone responded so quickly, and moreover that they would be willing to act immediately. I met Stan and his wife Linda on the beach where I had lost my ring a day earlier. They retrieved two metal detectors from their car and walked with me on the beach. After a few minutes orienting themselves to the landscape, they began to search the area. Each time Stan or Linda searched their “scoopes”, my heart pounded in anticipation. After nearly two hours (and my own unsuccessful attempts using a spare detector), they decided to postpone the search until the following morning when they could amass a group of their colleagues from the SRARC to search the large section of beach.
I had grown up in the Tampa Bay area and had spent many years enjoying the Gulf of Mexico. Some of my fondest memories involve the Gulf itself and the spoil islands, waterways, and beaches that adorn it. I convinced myself that night, that instead of “losing” my ring, I would consider it a gift to the Gulf for the many blessings, including my wife and family, that were the product of the Gulf beaches and the experiences of my life. I could always get a new ring.
Despite this outlook, I showed up earlier than planned on that same stretch of beach the next morning with a heart full of hope that Stan and his friends would find my ring. One after another they arrived at the beach, until six of them stood before me and I offered again the story that I had told Stan and Linda the day before. After Stan provided direction to the team, he asked if I would like to use a spare detector to assist. Although unlikely that I would do anything productive, I accepted the detector as I refused to allow these good people to search for my loss while I sat on the beach and sipped my coffee.
As I moved along the soft sand, sweeping the machine side to side, a number of different audible chirps, beeps, and tones alerted me to different metal below the surface, or nothing. Stan had explained the device to me, and described the specific tone and range reading that I would see on the display if I detected platinum or another piece of heavy metal. After only a few minutes, I came across a loud tone that (as I will never forget), read “55”. I ran my detector several times back and forth over the spot, and slowly scooped away batches of sand. The tone remained consistent and I began to grow anxious, so I got Stan’s attention nearby and he came to where I stood. I told him that I had a strong tone and he confirmed that with his detector. He placed his scoop in the middle of the area, just inches from where I had searched and my heart raced. As he emptied his scoop and sand fell from the small holes, only a large platinum ring remained. His eyes wide open in surprise, he yelled “no way!” I looked in his scoop, hastily retrieved my wedding band, and placed it on my ring finger. In a split moment, I hugged him and we yelled in excitement. As the rest of the crew gathered around us with smiles, laughter, and congratulations, the amazement of the moment began to settle upon us all. I had located my own lost wedding band.
What an incredibly special moment. What was most amazing was the reaction of the SRARC members on the beach that morning. They were thrilled for me and happy to have been part of the event, but this was not their first time experiencing this feeling. I could tell they had done this before. They smiled, shook my hand and gave hugs, but then happily set out to search different parts of the beach and walk in the surf, some of them having driven 45 minutes or more to be part of the search that morning.
I must have told this story a hundred times already (some repeats to the same family members that smile and tolerate me as family does). In the world we live in now, we rarely witness people do the right thing for the right reasons. I was happy to witness that firsthand over the Thanksgiving break, and am so blessed to have met Stan, Linda, and the other members of the SRARC (Mark, Mark, Rick, and Ed) who made the trip that very early morning after Thanksgiving to help me. Thank you.
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