With this ring, diver wins yet another heart

  • Article by: KIM MCGUIRE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 23, 2012 - 11:47 PM

A hobby scuba diver recovered the bands from Lake Minnetonka - and made Marisa Nelson's day.

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Marisa Nelson’s recovered rings.

Photo: Marisa Nelson, .

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Marisa Nelson has a habit of fiddling with her wedding band and engagement ring while she talks.

And on Saturday, she was twirling the rings around her finger while talking to friends as they cooled off in Lake Minnetonka. "And the next moment it was gone," she said.

Her heart sank as she thought of breaking the news to her husband of almost six years, Shea. So she and her friends spend the next four hours digging around in the mud with their toes, hoping to feel the brush of metal.

But that never happened.

Heart-broken, she went to her home in Lakeville late Saturday and started searching on the Internet for someone who might be able to help her. She typed "Lake Minnetonka" and "Ring." To her surprise, she found a Star Tribune article from several years ago featuring recreational scuba diver Denny Geffre of Mound who has a side business finding lost valuables in Minnesota's vast network of lakes.

"That gave me a glimmer of hope," Nelson said Monday.

After a sleepless night, she contacted Geffre on Sunday morning and he readily agreed to meet her at one of the lake's docks.

"I never tell them no," Geffre said of the people who call him asking for help. "I just tell them what their odds of finding it are and then go out and look. A lot depends on how well they've marked the spot."

Fortunately for Nelson, she knew exactly where she lost the rings and directed Geffre to the location. He waded into the chest deep water with his metal detector and found both rings within 10 minutes.

"It was a miracle," Nelson said.

Over the years, Geffre has come across all kinds of things at the bottoms of the hundred or so lakes he has combed: a spearhead from the Bronze Age, a bowling ball and a pick up truck. Once he found a ring in a northern Minnesota lake that had been lost for nine years.

"I love to see the smile on their faces," he said of the people who contact him. "They go from being super low to super high real quick."

It's unclear if the Lake Minnetonka episode means Nelson's ring-fiddling days are behind her.

"Either way, I think the big thing for me is knowing that there are people out there like Denny who are willing to help," she said.

Kim McGuire • 612-673-4469

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