Volunteers find lost valuables for free

August 1, 2011 10:00:00 PM PDT
We all know how frustrating it is to lose something important, like car keys or even jewelry. But there is hope that your lost belongings will be recovered and it will not cost you a dime. Rings and necklaces cost so much money these days that replacing a lost item can be a costly prospect, but you may not have to thanks to a local volunteer network.

It takes a lot to ruin a day on the lake, just ask Barbie and Naaman.

Barbie recalled, "I put on sunscreen and put my ring in my pocket because I did not want to get sunscreen all over it and jumped back in the water without putting my ring back on."

In a flash Barbie's engagement ring slipped into the dark waters of Lake Livingston. And this was no ordinary ring.

"I actually spent four days at the store, picking out all the parts for it and putting pieces on top of pieces until I got it like I wanted," Naaman explained. "I felt like I built the ring."

While finding the ring seemed impossible, Naaman turned to an unusual resource -- the Lost My Stuff Group.

John Hawken, the group's founder said, "If you have lost something, you can go to one website, no matter where you are and say, hey I lost my wedding ring."

Hawken started the volunteer metal detector group a year ago. If you lose something simply post the details on the group's website and a volunteer will try to help, free of charge.

Naaman's volunteer was Clayton Wallace.

"Basic description came through in the email, I lost my ring, I know basically, kind of sort of where it is and it is in Lake Livingston," Wallace said. "I said, 'Oh man, that sounds like a challenge.'"

So Clayton and Naaman headed to the area of the lake. After an hour and a half in chest deep water...

"'Does it look anything like this?'" Clayton had asked. "And I held the ring up."

Naaman said, "I was like, you gotta be kidding me."

Clayton's quick recovery left the newfound friends with time to enjoy the rest of the day on the lake. When Naaman got home, he did not share the good news with his wife right away.

"About an hour later he is bending down and looking at his foot and he said he got this really bad cut on his foot today out on the lake, come look at it," Barbie recalled. "He pulls out the ring from behind his back and said, 'Will you marry me again?'"

The Lost My Stuff Group has hundreds of volunteers based around the world, but most are in the US. They find about 50 percent of the things they look for. The volunteers do it all for free. They do not take payments or even rewards.