When 29-year-old scuba diver Luke Berube takes his metal detector down to the bottom of the waves, he’s never quite sure what he’s going to unearth.
His discovery of a decades-old piece of sentimental jewelry, though, was probably one of his most surprising finds to date—and his subsequent search to find its owner was one of the coolest stories of the year.
Berube had been diving in a pond in Massachusetts when he discovered a 10-carat high school class ring.
He immediately knew that the uniquely identifiable nature of a class ring made it possible for him to potentially help the ring reunite with its owner. As he told CNN during an interview, he decided that it presented the perfect opportunity to use his fun hobby to help someone find something they’d lost long ago.
“Because there were identifying marks on it, that’s the biggest reason why I wanted to push to get it back to somebody,” he explained. “Many times I’ll find a typical men’s wedding band with no markings on it. Those are next to impossible to return to the owner.”
He brought the ring home with him, where a quick Google search helped him figure out that it came from the Gate of Heaven High School in South Boston.
From there, he requested to join a Facebook group for school alumnus, explaining why a 29-year-old wanted to join a group for a high school that had been shut down in 2009 (and then set for demolition in 2018). The moderators readily agreed to let him post about his find, which led him to 77-year-old William Joseph Wadel—who was able to explain just how his ring had ended up at the bottom of a body of water.
According to Wadel, he had given the ring to a girlfriend nearly 60 years before Berube found it. When she lost it, he figured it was gone forever, so it came as a massive shock when his daughter, Christine, saw Berube’s Facebook post and let her dad know that the ring had been found again.
— WBZ | CBS Boston News (@wbz) June 19, 2019
“I called my Dad and said ‘Dad, could this be yours?’” Christine Wadel said in an interview with local CNN affiliate WBZ. “And he says ‘yeah.’ And I said ‘You lost a ring?’ And he said ‘Yes!’”
Wadel’s daughter sent Berube proof that he had attended Gate of Heaven, providing the 12-year-scuba-diving vet with pictures of her father in high school and a photo of his diploma. For Berube, that was proof enough, and he set about organizing a time for Christine to drive up and get the ring.
This certainly wasn’t the first ring that Berube has found while diving. He’s been bringing his metal detector down with him for the last four years, and he estimates that he’s found more than 100 rings in that time span alone.
While a stereotypical man’s wedding band is a little harder to reunite with its owner, though, the diver explained that this one was “special”—and immediately knew that he had to do his best to help it find the home it lost over half a century ago.