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Frank Gray

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Courtesy Jordan Morrison
Jordan Morrison holds his tungsten wedding ring, which Fort Wayne Police officer Michael Joyner found for him on a beach in Florida with his metal detector.

Metal detecting hobby turns to ring rescue

Michael Joyner, the public information officer for the Fort Wayne Police Department, must be getting up in years because he got a metal detector.

He didn’t take offense when I told him that, but actually, he says, he got into metal detecting nearly 30 years ago while he was living in Virginia. He’s a Civil War buff and enjoyed looking for artifacts.

Over the years, he’s gotten pretty good at working with metal detectors, which can be tricky to use – so tricky that new owners often get frustrated quickly and put them away forever.

But Joyner says he never fails to find something interesting every time he goes out looking for treasure.

That, it turns out, was good news for a couple of Canadians who happened upon him during a recent trip to Florida.

Joyner took a quick vacation to Siesta Key this month, and as he walked past a condo carrying his metal detector, a man stopped him and asked for some help.

Two days earlier, the man said, he noticed his wedding ring was missing. He scoured the condo where he was staying and the swimming pool and found nothing.

He finally realized his ring, made of tungsten, of all things, probably fell off while he was playing in the waves with his young son.

The guy, who was from Ontario, could only estimate that he lost the ring somewhere in a 50-yard stretch of ocean. Joyner agreed to look for it when the ocean, which was rough from a storm, calmed down.

The ring’s owner, Jordan Morrison, said he didn’t have high hopes. “I thought it was gone,” he said when contacted by phone. “There was no chance he could find it.”

That night, though, when the tide went out and the waves subsided, Joyner started combing the seafloor in a grid pattern, and after a while got a signal. It was the man’s ring.

It was another two days before Joyner actually found Morrison sitting in front of his condo and was able to return the ring.

“It makes me so happy, it gives me chills” that he was able to find it, Morrison said.

The next day, Joyner was out with his metal detector again, searching the sea, when a man approached. He had been bodyboarding with his son, and his wedding ring had fallen off. Could he find it?

By the way, the man said, the ring was made of tungsten.

Joyner, surprised that he’d run into two men who’d lost their tungsten wedding rings, asked the man if he was from Ontario.

Why yes, the man said. How did you know that?

Joyner told him the story of the other man from Ontario who had lost his tungsten wedding ring.

Then he waded into the ocean and in no time found the man’s ring.

Joyner said both men offered him a reward, but he turned them down, telling them to instead use the money to help out someone in a jam sometime.

Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at fgray@jg.net. You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.

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