A firefighter from Queensland has finally been reunited with a long-lost commemorative ring which he lost 13 years ago in the ocean. All thanks to the labours of a dedicated metal detectorist, who recently told his story to the news. Bruce Phillips, a landscaper and semi-professional detectorist was recently scouring the sands of Henley Beach along Adelaide’s coast when he made the discovery.
He then posted it on social media and eventually tracked down the rightful owner of the ring. Justin Ocenasek a Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) firefighter got an unexpected call while he was enjoying a Christmas break.
Ocenasek received an email from Bruce Phillips, who said he found the ring while using his metal detector in the sand at Henley Beach.
“I received a phone call from a friend of mine … and he said, ‘Have you checked your work emails?’,” Mr Ocenasek said.
“He said you’ll probably want to check them because there’s a gold ring that someone’s trying to return.
“You could have blown me over with a feather.”
The firefighter said the hand-forged gold graduation ring was one of two made. Justin lost the ring in 2007 when he accidentally flung it off as he was throwing a ball back to his mates at Henley Beach. The firefighter even forgot about the ring but fate had other plans.
Ironically, he had been wearing the ring on his ring finger which was made for his middle finger because of an injury sustained while playing football.
“Of all the unlikely things that have occurred this year … I don’t want to be cheesy and say the words ‘Christmas miracle’,” he said.
“The odds of me finding this ring were even less than winning the lottery.
“In no way did I think I was ever going to find it. I couldn’t imagine a scenario where it would be found.”
When he was asked how he felt after getting back a lost ring, he said “Out of all the unlikely things that could happen this year, this would have been on the bottom of my list. After this, now I am going to take a lottery.”
The detectorist said while it was an “amazing” find, such discoveries were surprisingly common.
“It’s always rewarding when you can hand something back to someone, The best part about it is it’s MFS — obviously these guys put themselves on the line for us. How often does it happen? Fairly frequently with new rings. Exceptionally rare with ones that have been in the water for such a long time.”
Justin added it was “definitely the coolest reunion I’ve had”.