It was 4pm on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, at Crescent Beach in North Myrtle Beach, SC. Our family had spent an overcast day on the beach together and had begun discussing dinner plans for the evening. The sun began to peek from the clouds, so my brother-in-law and his girlfriend decided to throw a football before we packed up for the day, so I joined. They went out in the surf at least waist deep, and I stayed ankle-shin deep to throw back out to them. Never had an issue with my college ring coming off my hand, but after a few throws, using my right hand, the water had helped to loosen the ring. That’s when it happened, I threw the ball out, and as my arm came down from the throw, I felt the ring come off. I didn’t see or hear where it hit the water. That’s when instant panic set in. However, I stopped and looked at where I was in relation to stationary objects on the beach, anchored boats in front of us and storm water markers nearby. I yelled for help from my brother-in-law and then called my wife down from the umbrella. Four of us frantically searched in the shallow surf for at least 15 minutes, until I realized that the ring would have burrowed in the sand by now and it would be hopeless to keep searching. That is when my wife and I both felt “shell shocked” at the loss. Mainly because the ring was custom made, almost a decade after graduating college, and it was very pricey. I had only had it for a little over a month — hence the rookie mistake of forgetting to take it off in the first place.
By this time, it was 4:15pm, I stepped back up on the beach and thought to myself, check the tide chart. It was almost at peak high tide, and low tide would be after 11pm that night, in which I knew the area the ring was in, would be completely uncovered with water at that time. Do we come back then and dig around? That’s when I thought to search online for “professional metal detecting service, north myrtle beach”. The first result I clicked on took me to a “TheRingFinders” webpage with the first article showing a recovery of a woman’s wedding band set in North Myrtle Beach almost a year ago by a gentleman. I skimmed the article and realized that this was no novice just messing around, this guy must be a true professional given the circumstances of that recovery. That’s when I located his number and dialed it. On the third ring, I was greeted by Jim. Confirming he was in fact the “the ring finder man.” He proceeded to ask where I was, and I gave him details of what had just happened. It was 4:20pm, and he said stay put, I will be there in 20 minutes. He dropped his plans with his wife and immediately came to us to help.
Exactly 20 minutes later, Jim called me, and I watched as he walked out on the beach – “to the rescue.” He came up introduced himself and immediately my wife and I felt a sense of calm. He was super friendly, lighthearted about the situation so that we were able to laugh about it and at the same time. He obtained details and immediately set forth on his mission. Starting from a point we indicated, he worked in and out south. His grid patterning from the boundaries that we provided was evident that this was “not his first rodeo!” We anxiously watched and waited.
After close to a dozen in-and-out passes, from the beach to waist deep, out past where we told him I would have been standing. He came ashore, asked more questions from myself and my brother-in-law, and redirected his search north from where he started. On the second pass headed out, he stopped, right about where I would have been standing, now knee-deep. His waving motion of his detector had stopped. He was holding it still on something. Moving the detector aside, he took his scoop and made one dip into the water and up came a “scoop full of sand.” He carefully washed away the sand from the scoop and reached inside it. Turning around to walk ashore, he looked at us and “did a little dance!” That’s when we knew, bingo!
Jim came ashore, walked up to me and held out his fisted hand, and dropped my ring in my hand. Mission accomplished recovery complete. Everyone seemed shocked that he found it, myself included – however, I really and truly had faith in Jim from the time I talked with him on the phone. I would have been more shocked if he wasn’t able to recover it, that’s how much I trusted his skill. I had not read his biography at this point, nothing other than the skimming of that one story online. Later, we learned that Jim served our wonderful country for many years in the United States Coast Guard and also working in the federal government. He has continued his selfless service to people along the Grand Strand area for many years in his retirement – what a kind gesture to put his skills to work in such a way to help those in a panicked time of need.
“Thank you” was simply not enough to express my gratitude for his help. I went to shake his hand, and instead he leaned in and we exchanged a “bear hug!” A friendship was sparked. I gave Jim some cash that I hoped would be enough monetary compensation for his time, effort and ultimate success. He didn’t count it, but instead held it up and said “whatever this is, just know that ten percent of it will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in honor of you and your wife!” Such a kind gesture, once again.
In less than an hour and a half, a ring was “lost” by me and then recovered by a true professional and class act, Mr. Jim Wren. A one-of-a-kind college ring now really is a conversation piece, with a story to tell! Something that I will be able to pass down.
God Bless You Mr. Jim, you deserve all the best my friend!