Part-time ‘treasure hunter’ finds Brewerton man’s wedding ring on Florida Gulf Coast

Local News

Brewerton couple Lucy and Nick LaVia decided to escape the winter blues for a bit and take a spontaneous trip to Florida.

The mid-March excursion landed them in Siesta Key, Fla. 

The couple enjoyed fun in the sun which included time on the beach and in the water until Nick’s wedding ring slipped off into the Gulf of Mexico.

“The waves are pushing so I can’t be productive and find the ring because I’m getting pushed by the waves,” Nick shared. “I’m like, ‘Babe, we’re never going to find this thing, so let’s just enjoy the rest of our vacation and I’ll wear my backup ring at home.'”

They searched for the final days of their trip but Nick’s finger was still bare when they boarded the plane to head back to Syracuse.

Remaining more hopeful than her husband, Lucy decided to make a Facebook post about the missing wedding ring on as many community pages as she could find.

“I’ve seen plenty of Facebook miracles,” Lucy said. “I posted it on Facebook and I asked all my friends, ‘Please share this. I hope that this ring will be found.'”

The post caught the eye of part-time treasure hunter Shawn Rauch. formerly of Buffalo, the 30-year old computer programmer grabbed his underwater metal detector and headed out.

“I always try to ask, what time of day did you lose it? Then, I’ll look at the tide charts,” Shawn explained.  

In less than an hour of starting his search, Shawn recovered Nick’s wedding ring. 

He found it beneath 10 inches of sand.

He snapped a photo of the ring which has a special inscription including Nick and Lucy’s wedding date, Nov. 22, 2014.

While both Nick and Lucy say they enjoyed their time at Siesta Key with sand between their toes, they say they are far more grateful to have recovered one of the symbols that has bonded them since their big day.

It turns out, this is not the first time Shawn has unearthed sentimental and valuable items for people.

In most cases, they are perfect strangers to Shawn until he makes a discovery that links him to newfound friends.

“These things have so much sentimental value,” Shawn shared. “It’s just the greatest feeling the world to be able to return them.”

For nearly 20 years, Shawn has simply been fascinated by metal detectors and how much he finds when combing the beach.

Since Shawn would not accept any money for his selfless deed, and never does, Nick and Lucy made him promise they will all get together for dinner the next time they are in Florida or when he travels back to New York state to visit family.

“The amount of time and effort this person put in to just even do something for a perfect stranger, you know?” Nick said.

Nick and Lucy tell NewsChannel 9 this month is not just about March Madness but March Miracles, thanks to their new friend, Shawn. 

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