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June 10, 2021
After six days of scouring the surf at Egmont Key on Florida’s Gulf Coast, a brokenhearted Isliany Rawshdeh was nearly ready to give up her quest to find her cherished engagement ring — an irreplaceable custom keepsake that was lost on Memorial Day.
But, instead of throwing in the towel, the St. Petersburg, FL, resident acted on a tip and reached out to the West State Archeological Society, a Tampa-based club comprising amateur treasure hunters dedicated to preserving Florida history. Utilizing their keen skills and advanced equipment, the team was able to rescue the young woman’s ring.
Rawshdeh couldn’t have imagined that a joyful Memorial Day romp at the beach would be quickly turning into a nightmare. She had been playing volleyball in about five feet of water when her engagement ring went flying off her hand.
“I was like ‘Oh my God, no! I can’t believe this is happening.’ I told everyone not to move. ‘Please don’t move. We are going to find it,’” Rawshdeh told Tampa-based CW44.
Nearby beachgoers assisted in the search, but their efforts were in vain.
“People were snorkeling. We even got someone with a metal detector right quick and we couldn’t’ find anything,” she said.
Rawshdeh’s determination to find the ring was motivated by what the one-of-a-kind ring symbolized to her and her family. It was custom made by her husband and his design included many special elements.
“Like everything has a meaning in the ring, so we were really devastated,” said Rawshdeh.
Jim Thobe, the president of the West State Archeological Society, acknowledged to CW44 that finding an engagement ring was a unique challenge for his group. They most often search for historical artifacts and coins.
Thobe assembled his members and they worked as a team to find Rawshdeh’s ring. After a few hours on the scene, metal detectorist Mike picked up a signal and dug the ring out of the sandy bottom.
Mike gave the ring to Rawshdeh’s husband, who saw this as a great opportunity for a surprise second proposal.
Rawshdeh explained how it went down… “He sat next to me and he kissed me and he says, ‘Sometimes life just smiles at you,’ and put the ring on my finger again.”
Credits: Screen captures via CW44 Tampa Bay.