CLEARWATER, FL – It’s like finding a needle in a haystack, a 3-mile long haystack to be exact. That’s what happened this week when a Pinellas County couple who came to Clearwater Beach for Thanksgiving lost a wedding ring at the beach.
Police here said the couple sent an email to the Clearwater Police Department asking if anyone turned in their ring. Nobody had. Imke and Tobias Borawski were crushed when Tobias lost his wedding ring on their visit. They didn’t think they would ever see it again.
The department didn’t dismiss the email as could have so easily been done. Instead, the email was forwarded to officers who work the beach in case it was turned in. The ring wasn’t found that weekend, but on the following Monday, Police Service Technician Val Hornbeck mentioned a local group of metal detector enthusiasts that works to reunite people with their lost jewelry and other possessions.
“We thought the ring would never be found,” said Imke Borawski, who lives in Pinellas County along with her husband and family. “We were so sad, we did not know what to do.”
She didn’t know that the Suncoast Research and Recovery Club, a member of an international group called The Ring Finders, is made up of about 100 people from the Tampa Bay area who volunteer their services to people such as the Borawskis. In the last nine years, they’ve used metal detectors to return 607 items to their owners, mostly rings.
“If it’s there, we are going to find it,” said Howard Metts, president of the local club.
Six days after the ring went missing, Metts and two other club members, Ed Osmar and Bill Gallant, met Imke Borawski on the stretch of north Clearwater Beach where the ring had been lost. One complicating factor is they weren’t sure if it was lost in the water or on the sand.
The three treasure hunters asked her to show them exactly where she and her family had been for their day at the beach. The trio then methodically and painstakingly searched the sand and water looking for it. One of the men even traced all the way back to their parking spot, the Clearwater Police Department reported.
After about 45 minutes, Gallant found the ring in the sand about 80 feet from the water.
“I was overwhelmed. I started to cry and I could not find the words for it,” Imke Borawski said. “It’s priceless. The emotional value of this ring is priceless.”
The ring finders more than enjoyed their role in the happy conclusion to the ring caper.
“If you saw the expression on her face, it was priceless,” Metts said.
The Borawskis said they will be forever indebted to the three for finding the ring. After all, it’s been with them the last 17 years of marriage.
“These three people shared their time with us and they didn’t even know us. It was so amazing,” Imke Borawski said. “It was our perfect Christmas story. I think we will smile about this for the rest of our lives.”
Information in this report was provided by the Clearwater Police Department.