BY ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Crystal and Clifford Charles have been married for two years this month and moved to Bend a little over a year ago.
Last summer, the couple and their family decided, like many others, to take a float down the Deschutes River.
Unfortunately, what started off as a nice afternoon on the river took a devastating turn for Clifford.
“About the time I got into the water I realized I had my ring on. I figured I’d be alright! We got closer to the rapids and, you know, I’m trying to steer and navigate and I wound up flipping,” Charles said. “Once I got out I realized my ring was gone.”
Clifford was devastated.
“There’s a lot of history behind the ring, it was my grandpa’s ring, it was passed to me by my mom. I had to float back the rest of the way choking back the tears,” he said.
The Charles’ were sure Clifford’s ring was lost forever. Until Crystal came upon a group who specializes in recovering the irrecoverable along the Deschutes.
Two summers ago, avid surfers Miranda and Kea Eubank and Lled Smith found themselves constantly searching for their surf board fins while out at the surf park.
“They would dive for fins and Lled would always cross the channel and find sunglasses, and then we just started kind of naturally branching out from the surf park and it kind of became like this treasure hunt,” Miranda said.
Soon, Eubank says, they began getting requests to help find items people had lost in the river, and the “Loot the Deschutes” Instagram page was born.
Around five to six times a week during the summer, the group combs different areas of the river for items that don’t belong there…and find everything from bottles and cans…to skateboards.
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💥!!!! Another ring that has been lost for a year has been reunited with its owner! This is his GRANDADS! ring and they weren’t even married a year when he lost it. All hope was lost … he even dogged his mom from finding out.🙂 🍻! To the @goddess_gwendolyn_ family !🍻 grandad just rolled back over💪
“You’re in there and you’re picking up stuff, for me it was like, just pick up anything man-made,” Kea said. “That was my whole thing, anything man-made whether it’s trash or treasure.”
But sometimes, they find something far more valuable than, say, hubcaps.
“When you find one thing like a diamond ring, you just want to find another one, so you dive back in! And you find a pair of shades! You do find a lot of trash, but eventually you do find something,” Smith said.
They also find plenty of, wouldn’t you know it – rings.
In fact, last July, it was Lled who found Clifford’s missing ring.
A couple of weeks ago, he was able to return it to him.
“I found them on social media and commented on a post and we kind of went back and forth for a while to find out if it was actually the ring or not. But when he saw it he knew it was it,” Crystal said.
For the group, returning the lost items back to their original owners is the best part of the job.
“They are amazing, i can’t even say how thankful I am,” Crystal said.
Said Kea, “For some reason it just extends the high. When you find it you get this feeling just like, “wow this is so amazing!” But then when you get it back to people it’s even more of this feeling!”
While they’re relieved to have their ring back, Crystal and Charles have a bit of advice for others who may float with their wedding rings on in the future.
“Leave it in the car!”