By Hannah Becker
Many valuables get lost in lakes and never found, and after an unfortunate incident, Mandy and Allan Goetsch from Watertown thought Allan’s wedding ring became one of those lost items — until they found a local treasure hunter.
To end their fourth anniversary celebration, the Goetsches met with family at Devil’s Lake State Park July 26.
Plans filled with volleyball fun suddenly came to a halt when Allan realized his wedding ring had slipped off his finger and into the murky lake.
“I was hitting the ball when my ring slid off,” Allan said. “I saw it in the air, so I jumped, hoping to catch it before it landed in the water. But it ended up dropping about 4 feet in front of me.”
Knowing the general area where the lost ring landed, Allan started to search.
“At first, I thought he was joking,” Mandy said. “Overall though, I was pretty calm. I really just wanted to find it.”
The couple and the family spent the rest of the day searching through the cloudy water but had no luck.
“I felt very guilty,” Allan said. “I knew the ring was a little big. I had four years to get it sized and never did.”
After almost five hours of searching, the sun started to set and the family decided to call it quits. While the disappointed couple headed home, they started to discuss what their next step should be.
Before calling the jeweler or insurance company, Mandy talked to the park rangers at Devil’s Lake State Park. They had suggested hiring a treasure hunter and added many people in the past have done so to find lost items.
The couple went online and landed on www.theringfinders.com, which directed them to an area ring finder in Dane County.
After explaining the mishap, ring-finder Dan Roekle said he had no doubt they would find the ring. Mandy and Allan said they became hopeful after talking to Dan but were still unsure if the ring would ever be found.
“He seemed pretty confident,” Allan said. “I wanted to be as well, but after looking for four to five hours and having the family — even people around the beach — trying to help out, I still wasn’t sure if we would find it.”
That Monday afternoon, Allan met with Dan and two children, Carter, 11, and Kylie, 8, at Devil’s Lake State Park to search for the remote ring. Once Allan directed them to the location where he had last seen it drop into the water, Dan and his children headed toward the area with a metal detector.
It took approximately five minutes to locate and dig up Allan’s wedding ring which had ended up 3 inches below the sand.
“When Allan realized we found the ring the look on his face was priceless,” Dan said.
Besides a small fee for gas, Dan’s services are on a reward basis. He uses the money to buy better equipment to search for rings. Dan had bought waterproof headphones with the reward he received from the Goetsch couple. Two weeks after the purchase, he was able to find another ring that normally would have been in water too deep to find.
“This hobby is a way for me to spend time with my kids and reunite people with not just jewelry, but the memories behind the items,” Dan said. “It’s almost like a ‘pay it forward’ scenario.”
Now that the ring has been found, and re-sized, the couple said they have a great anniversary story to share. They also added they are incredibly grateful for Dan and his family’s assistance.