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I will never forget getting the phone call from Alfredo that one Saturday evening. He was in great distress because he could not find his 22 karat yellow gold crucifix pendant that he lost on a soccer field earlier that day. He tried everything to find it, including using a metal detector and as much help as possible from all of the other soccer players. Unfortunately, all of their efforts led to no avail.
Once Alfredo gave up after his many hours of searching, he went online later in the evening and searched on Google. He typed in the search box: metal finder. THE RING FINDERS website, an international metal detectorist directory, popped up immediately and before long Alfredo and I were talking on the phone. The gentleman made it very clear that I was his last hope and he said to me, « Brian, I need you. I need you to find my cross. » This precious keepsake was very dear to this man. It was a gift from his father when he was around 10 years old and Alfredo had worn it on his chain for over 40 years. This was something that he had to get back.
Next morning, I met my client and his son out at the soccer field located in Urbana, Maryland. Alfredo took me to the approximate location where the soccer ball had hit his chest which supposedly caused his chain to break and as a result, the cross got lost in the grass somewhere. After asking all of the questions needed to start the search, I grabbed my gear and I did a line grid across the field. Unfortunately, after a few hours, I still had not found the special piece of jewelry. I needed to pack my things up to head to another appointment, so I promised Alfredo that I would return the next day. Because it rained, we ended up scheduling the second search attempt for the following day.
On Search Day 2, I continued doing the grid search that I had started two days earlier, but I still could not find the cross anywhere on the field. I metal detected every inch of the grass for that entire half of the soccer turf, and yet I could not find any gold. I managed to search a particular hillside leading down to the field and yet I could not recover the family heirloom. Alfredo had shared with me that he put on his shoes by a set of bleachers and He also helped to move a goal from one side of the hill all the way down to where the team had been playing that past Saturday morning. With that information, I did not leave that evening without finishing most of the portion of the hill where Alfredo had been moving about. It was dark by the time I had to leave and at that point I had reached a total search time of 9 hours (total hours from 2 days earlier and this particular visit). I was pretty exhausted.
Search Day 3. Another two days went by before I could return to the soccer field to continue my search. Alfredo was very grateful that I had not given up after 9 hours of searching. I told him that I don’t give up easily, and that the cross had to be out there somewhere unless somebody had picked it up during his game. I continued my metal detecting task on the hillside. Once I finished that section and I was convinced that the cross had not fallen off in that region, it was time for me to metal detect the grassy parking lot where Alfredo had parked on that day when he lost his crucifix. It took a couple of hours to clear the parking lot area where he walked from his car over to the top of the field and I was confident that I didn’t miss Alfredo’s precious keepsake. I also checked my client’s car as well but there still was nothing to be found. Alfredo introduced me to the owner of the soccer field who also played with my client on the day that the cross went missing and he was convinced that the pendant must not have been lost on the soccer field. By the time I finished doing the parking lot, I told Alfredo and his friend that either the cross came off Alfredo’s neck before he left his house that day, or I must have missed it when metal detecting the field on Search Day 1 and 2. I immediately packed up my gear and headed for the field even though it was dark outside and I only had a little less than a half an hour to see what I could discover. Sadly, I did not come away with the gold piece of jewelry that I was looking for. I would now have to wait another five days before getting my next opportunity to search for the missing cross. I promised Alfredo that one way or another I was going to find his beloved heirloom which his father had given him so many decades earlier. By the time I finished that evening, I had done 13 hours of detecting.
Search Day 4. Five days later, I drove back to the soccer field in the early evening hours to give it my all and to start all over again right where I began over a week earlier. This time, I would change the direction of my search and do a perpendicular grid. I was encouraged by legendary detectorist and THE RING FINDERS’ founder / CEO to search from a different direction just in case the crucifix was lying on an angle, making it difficult for my detector to hit a good signal from the direction I had originally searched from. Stan Ross, another great detectorist and ring finder, felt very convinced that the cross must still be out there and for me to just keep pounding the field just in case I missed it somehow. I greatly appreciated both words of advice from the best ring finders out there!
I kept metal detecting until it started to get dark out once again. I only had one more section left to do and this was after I had cleared a considerable amount of territory already. Just as I finished the second grid line of this very last section that I was searching, I got a very good low tone signal that was in the range of what I was looking for. With my high lumens headlamp on, I knelt down on the ground and pinpointed the section where I was getting that excellent target signal. Moments later, just as I was zeroing in on where the target was, my eyes locked in on a shiny yellow colored stick that was impressed into the mud. The object was resting on a slight angle. It sure looked like gold to me! As my fingers began to pick it up, I saw a cross member section of the metal piece and instantly I knew I had found Alfredo’s very special gold cross! I almost couldn’t believe it! It had been 16 hours since I had begun the search the week earlier and I had finally discovered it almost at the point of exhausting every search section!
I couldn’t have been happier for my client! Minutes later, I would surprise the gentleman who was almost ready to give up trying to find the lost crucifix. He had only agreed to return to the soccer field because I insisted to start over again. Alfredo was beyond grateful for what I was able to finally recover from the field and he was so appreciative of the fact that I never gave up and that I constantly gave him more and more hope that we would somehow find the cross in the end. Once my client dried off most of his tears that had rolled down his face, he Facetimed his father and shared the wonderful news about that special piece of jewelry that his father had given him 42 years earlier! The elderly gentleman was extremely happy for his son’s excitement and relief!
That night, Alfredo and I drove to a restaurant and the two of us celebrated the return of one of his most priceless possessions that he had ever owned! We made several drink toasts. One, to finding the lost crucifix pendant, two, to not giving up, and three, to our new friendship that we forged together through those 16 hours of searching with the determination to never stop until we found what we were desperately looking forward. I’ll never forget that search project, nor the kindness and patience of my client, Alfredo.
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