A Maryland firefighter treasured a medallion his parents gave him at his recruit school graduation in 2005. He took it off at the beach and lost it in summer 2020.
But he has his prized possession back after nearly a year, thanks to a good Samaritan who combed the beach with a metal detector.
Prince George’s County Fire Battalion Chief Donny Fletcher lost his medallion during a vacation in the Outer Banks.
“It means the world to me. It was a gift,” he said. “It was something I had worked hard to achieve.”
After being warned that sharks might be attracted to the necklace’s medallion when swimming in the ocean, Fletcher decided to take it off and leave it with his things on the shore.
Then, a wave came and swept up all of his things, including the necklace.
“We spread out across 40 or 50 yards wide by 20 yards deep, and we had 10 or 11 people out there digging,” he said.
There was no luck; Fletcher left the Outer Banks without his necklace and eventually gave up on ever finding it again.
Earlier this month, a man named Ken Askey, who picked up metal detecting as a retirement hobby, found the medallion about 50 miles from where it was lost.
He tracked down Fletcher through the fire department using the ID number on the medallion. Askey and Fletcher recently spoke about the discovery over Zoom.
When Fletcher received the call, he said he got goosebumps.
“Being able to find you and get the necklace back to you, that makes this hobby worthwhile,” Askey said.
Fletcher said the experience was proof there are still good people in the world.
“It was like reuniting with an old friend,” he said. “I took it out, I looked at it, I put it back on and I’m never going to take it off again.”