Ever felt the panic of losing your car keys? Cell phone? How about something as valuable as a wedding ring?
That is what happened to a couple from Milton, New York who was vacationing on the Connecticut shoreline in Westbrook.
Nicole Beck was swimming with her kids for 15 minutes when she realized she lost three valuable items: her engagement ring, wedding band and a third ring she got for her 10-year wedding anniversary.
"All of the sudden, I just moved my hand, it felt different. So, when I looked down, I noticed they were gone," Nicole said.
A heart-breaking moment for the couple who met in middle school and later became high school sweethearts. Today, they look back on 11 years of marriage while raising their four kids.
Determined to find the rings, Nicole's husband, Kevin, conducted an intense search with his neighbors and family members.
"The next low tide was at 2:15 a.m. We were all out on the beach with flashlights just walking around," Kevin Beck said.
When that didn't work, Kevin enlisted the help of local metal detectors. One of them was Andy Vacco who has led the Nutmeg Treasure Hunters for 15 years.
"A lot of the time, the thing that gives you the most enjoyment are the things you find for people when you lose them," Vacco said.
By early Thursday morning, just three days after the ring went missing, Vacco had a team searching in the water and on the beach. All of them volunteered their time to help the Beck family.
"We were going to do anything we could to get it. I lined up people for the afternoon, for the weekend...If we had to come back," said Wayne Aguiar, metal detecting consultant.
But after a couple hours, they located the first ring, buried under four inches of sand. The detectors say because the couple knew where they were in the water at the time, it made the search easier. The longer they waited, the ring would have been buried further under the sand.
"I got a penny and then dime and then I got signal, and it sounded like it could have been something, and it was one of the rings. It was the wedding band. I couldn't believe that," said Seth Eddy, a member of Nutmeg Treasure Hunters.
The next two were found just minutes later, bringing the couple to tears.
"My eyes watered up, I was like, 'Oh my god, that's it, that's it.' And I got Nicole, and she started crying," Kevin said.
Like finding a needle in a haystack - some seasoned metal detectors proved it was possible.
"They're very sentimental. And to lose them just feels, you feel terrible. You don't feel whole. They are part of me and part of our marriage. Our relationship. I'm so glad they're back," Nicole said.
Nicole said she had never taken off her rings in the past, but after this scare, she might before she goes in the water. As for the Nutmeg Treasure Hunters, they say they find joy in reuniting people with their belongings.
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