NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — There is no panic like losing something important.
Imagine losing an engagement ring in the middle of the beach or a family heirloom necklace in the ocean. When fear begins to set in, there are two men on the Grand Strand ready to jump in and help.
Jim Wren and Matthew Fry are the Ring Finders of North Myrtle Beach.
When they get a call from a distressed beachgoer whose great-grandmother’s ring fell off while they were surfing or a newlywed whose ring flew off during a round of beach volleyball, they are the first to respond.
Wren said they typically see the same things when they arrive at a search.
“It’s always a sad story,” Wren said. “It’s usually a grandmother’s ring that’s been passed down and they’ve lost it on the beach and they’re hysterical.”
But when it gets returned, Fry said they typically see the same reactions as well.
“There’s always tears,” Fry said. “Always, always tears.”
Wren said he likes to mess around with the people when he gives them back their items.
“I’m like, ‘OK, I’ve been out here all day, here’s where I’ve searched’ and I’ll have it on my finger and I’ll be pointing to an area and they’ll see it and they lose it,” Wren said. “They jump up and down, they cry, they scream, they hug.”
In a typical beach search, Wren said the chances of recovery are about 7 in 10. For underwater searches, it drops to 3 in 10.
To give the Ring Finders their best chance at finding a lost item, they need as many specifics as possible.
“Probably about 90% of us finding somebody’s ring is them putting us in the right spot,” Wren said. “If you can imagine, we’re looking for one square inch, something the size of a quarter.”
Depending on how many specifics they can get determines how long they are out there searching.
“Some of ’em, we walk out on the beach and it’s seconds, literally seconds, if they put us in the right area,” Wren said. “Other times it’s two, three hours. We may come back a second time or a fourth or fifth.”
Searches are all different. Some take longer than others; some are underwater, some are through the ashes of burnt buildings. However, one thing is always the same: the feeling after a successful search.
“It’s an amazing feeling to give somebody back something that they thought was gonna be gone forever,” Wren said.