We often think of buried treasure as a hunt for relics from another time — lost coins and jewelry from a pirate’s stash or a sunken ship.
Sometimes, however, the most meaningful treasure isn’t old at all, but rather something that brings people together in unexpected ways.
Luke Berube is a 29-year-old amateur treasure hunter from Orleans, Massachusetts.
According to his profile on The Ring Finders, Berube primarily searches off of Cape Cod, but will travel from time to time for his hobby.
Berube loves adventure, listing “detecting, diving, and biking” as his favorite hobbies.
After a recent rash of disappointing hunts, Berube decided to try something different and drove to a small pond in the Hanson, Massachusetts area. He donned his scuba gear and metal detector and began searching for lost treasure where the water was 10 feet deep.
There, in the mud at the bottom of the pond, Berube found an item that ended up being far more unique than his normal finds.
“I got a solid mid tone on my minelab Excalibur II and started digging and fanning the muddy silt on the bottom,” Berube said in a blog post.
“I reached my hand in the hole and grabbed a handful of muck but felt an unexpected target, it felt like a ring (it was a ring).”
The ring was a 1960 class ring from Gate of Heaven high school in south Boston. Etched into the inside of it were the initials “WJW.”
“As soon as I saw it, I really started to wonder what the story was,” Berube told WBZ4 News.
He began researching the ring and while unable to find any records of students from that time period, Berube found a Facebook group of alumni from the high school, where he was given permission to post a photo of the ring.
WBZ4 reports that within a couple of hours, the news had reached Christine Wadel, whose father had attended the high school 60 year ago. Her father’s name is William Joseph Wadel — WJW.
“I called my Dad and said ‘Dad, could this be yours?” Christine said. “And he says ‘yeah.’ And I said ‘You lost a ring?’ And he said ‘Yes!’”
The now 77-year-old man graduated from Gate of Heaven almost 60 years ago. According to WBZ4, he had given the ring to his girlfriend, who had lost it only a couple of years later.
“He was like — shocked!” Christine Wadel said. “I think I’ll be smiling forever.“
“It never gets old,” Berube said. The chance to return a treasure to its owner is a reward in itself, and has been on Berube’s bucket list for years.
After meeting in person on June 18, Wadel was given her father’s ring, and returned it to him a few days later after almost 6 decades apart.
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