Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Fished from the Gulf, One Lost Symbol of Love

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Fished from the Gulf, One Lost Symbol of Love

Article excerpt

VENICE

When Sarah Whitten-Grigsby and Les Grigsby, then engaged, found matching, polka-dot-covered titanium wedding rings, they knew their choice in nuptial jewelry was unusual.

But neither could have guessed how much more unusual the story of one of the pieces would become after it was buried in a watery grave, only to be discovered by a local treasure hunter.

Eight months after the titanium wedding band slipped off Les Grigsby's finger, Mark DesErmia -- who has found several high- profile items as he trolls the beaches with a metal detector -- found the keepsake nearly 50 feet off Venice Beach.

"When I really think about it, I find it almost hard to fathom," Sarah said laughing. "I think it's a wonderful story."

It began last June, when the ring slipped off Les' finger as he held one of the couple's dogs at Venice's dog beach.

Les text-messaged Sarah after he searched for the missing jewelry.

"Lost wedding ring in ocean, tried diving many times, but water too choppy," he wrote. "I cried."

Sarah felt the same emotions.

"I had this wave of feeling distressed, frustrated," she said. "By the next morning, I realized it's replaceable, not like we had lost one of the dogs."

But Les and Sarah still clung to the hope of finding the ring. Indeed, although Les often thought about getting a new ring, he always held off.

Each time they saw someone on the beach with a metal detector, they would describe the unusual ring to them.

One of the men they approached was Mark DesErmia, a Venice native who has made a hobby/business of finding lost treasures.

In 2007, DesErmia unearthed a Stanley Cup championship ring that had beenmissing since the 1970s. The story made headlines when DesErmia returned the 1967 ring to former Toronto Maple Leafs hockey star Jim Pappin, who had earned the ring by scoring the winning goal in the championship game. …

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