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Retired military vet on new mission to find Portland's lost wedding rings

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Retired military vet Del Witters armed with a metal detector and dogged determination, has been helping people find their lost treasures since joining The Ring Finders in 2014. (KPTV) Retired military vet Del Witters armed with a metal detector and dogged determination, has been helping people find their lost treasures since joining The Ring Finders in 2014. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A retired military vet is on a new mission in life, armed with simply a metal detector.

His assignment - reuniting people everywhere with lost wedding rings they thought they might never see again.

Anyone who knows Del Witters knows he's the type of guy who never gives up. In fact, that much Del himself will tell you, too.

"I'm just kind of a dogged kind of person, I don't want to leave without finding it," he said.

“It,” in this case, is Tom Humphrey's wedding ring.

"About a week ago, I was doing work in a wood pile and a couple days later, I realized I didn't have my ring," Humphrey explained.

Humphrey thinks his ring is somewhere underneath a pile of mulch that's sitting in his front yard, though he can't be sure.

"I got a metal detector myself, but I'm not an expert so I didn't know what to do,” he said. “I didn't find it."

He had just about given up until he heard about Witters from a friend.

"I thought if it was out here, he would find it," Humphrey said.

Witters is part of a worldwide network of metal detecting specialists called The Ring Finders.

"I became a member back in 2014 and I love it,” he said. “I'm hooked."

It is a job the retired military vet takes quite seriously. He accepts missions from all across the Pacific Northwest.

"I mean all of them stick with me, I could tell you the stories," Witters said.

He's found rings in gardens, on beaches, in lakes and in rivers, but perhaps the most intricate ring find landed him in the Columbia River on Caterpillar Island.

That was the spot where Daniel Rosas lost the ring his wife Raquel made for him by hand.

"I honestly feel like we put him through a little bit of hell that day," Raquel Benito said. "We had to inflate an inflatable raft and rowed him over to the island, carrying all this expensive equipment on the boat."

"I had no hopes of getting the ring back again,” Daniel Rosas added. “I thought my ring was in the river and gone, it belongs to the river now."

Well, they thought wrong.

"When I held it up, they just went crazy," Witters recalled.

"Oh, we lost our marbles, we tackled him in the water," Benito laughed.

It's success stories like this that Tom Humphrey was banking on when he called Witters.

"I figured if he could pull a ring out of the ocean, then he could maybe pull it out of my pile of wood chips," Humphrey said.

And sure enough, in the final corner of the yard, he did just that.

"Does it look like this?" Witters asked while holding up the ring covered in dirt.

Humphrey then went to check it out for himself, thanking Witters as he put the ring back on saying, "Thanks Del, you're like Frodo."

It's all in another day's work for Witter, who says he's simply happy when his clients are happy.

"That's the neat part, it's like a needle in a haystack,” he said. “It's rewarding I don't know how else to explain it."

Witters tells FOX 12 he typically just asks people to cover the cost of his travel expenses. Anything else they give him for tracking down their missing rings he considers extra.

For more information on Del Witters and The Ring Finders, visit TheRingFinders.com.

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