An heirloom lost and a miracle found

Published 11:40 am Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The fourth week of July was hot and humid. It was the perfect time to jump into Lake Lanier. It was so tranquil and quiet that weekday afternoon. No speed boats, no skidoos or disturbances of any kind. Just the typical residents; the white duck duo and the mallard possie. The perfect time for a peaceful swim and to wash my hair, using eco-lake-friendly shampoo, of course. Lovely fresh beautiful water and sunshine filled my heart. It was a great day.

Then a glinting arc shot straight up in the sky and slid effortlessly into the openings between the deck slats right by my feet. I couldn’t believe what had just occurred. My heart ripped open.

My Dad’s signet ring from 1959 flew into the water. Entrusted to me after his untimely young death, it just plunged into the soupy silt of the lake in about 7 feet of water. Irreplaceable!

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Usually, it’s a struggle to remove the ring, but with the shampoo—silly me, I should have known better. A wave of loss, anguish and sadness washed over me. Not to mention anger at my stupidity.

That afternoon I ordered an underwater metal detector, and it arrived the following day. Trying to hold my breath, stay submerged and operate this amazingly complicated tool, with its numerous beeps, blips, buzzes and pings, was impossible. No visibility, and it felt like I was drowning.

The next day I read the news about ‘Merman Mike’ from California. He trolled a California lake and found a woman’s $9,500 wedding ring. Ok! After sending my SOS to ‘Merman Mike’, he responded promptly and asked why I left out my location. Timidly, I told him I lived in S.C., and that I’d pay all his travel expenses. “Aw, sweetie,” he told me. “You can try local RingFinders.”

So RingFinders it was, and Burgess Shucker from Greenville took my case. Arriving as planned, we quickly went to the site, dressed in full protective gear and carrying underwater detectors.

I knelt and watched as he submerged. Bubbles and beams of light disappeared into the “dark water,” where the visibility is naught and the diver must lie on their stomach, feeling with their hands and listening to the detector, all alone.

Thirty or 40 minutes in, he surfaced to say he had only 15 minutes of oxygen left. At this point, I had really lost hope.

Then, he surfaces. I cried as he held out his fist to me, turned it over and carefully placed the ring in my hand. He said, “Don’t you never, ever lose this again!”

Miracles do happen! God bless you, Burgess!


Susan Vance

Lake Lanier