WINNIPEG—A Winnipeg man’s twice-lost wedding ring has made a miraculous return, 12 years later and an ocean away.
Helder Prazeres, who now lives in Alvor, Portugal, was stunned last month to get a Facebook message from someone in Winnipeg with a picture of the wedding band.
Prazeres and his wife, Julie Salgueiro, were married in Winnipeg in 2000.
They were on their honeymoon in Italy when he lost it the first time in the pool, though staff found it while cleaning the facility and mailed it back to him.
Two years later, much to his embarrassment, Prazeres dropped the ring during a family picnic in Assiniboine Park and gave it up for lost after spending a day trying to find it.
It eventually was found by Winnipeg treasure hunter Art Crane, who snagged it with his metal detector in a ditch alongside a road in the park.
“It was from the year 2000 and it had the date that they were married and their first names on the inside,” recalled Crane, who actually found the ring about four years after it was lost.
He said he reported his discovery to park officials, but they had no record of it. Crane then tossed it into the box of coins, key chains and rings he keeps in his pickup truck, where it spent the next eight years.
The topic of lost rings came up at a family gathering this summer, and Crane showed the one he found in the park to his son-in-law, Justin Phillips. Armed only with the two first names inscribed inside the ring, Phillips worked the Internet from his smartphone, eventually finding an old obituary which mentioned Helder Prazeres and his wife.
He typed Prazeres into Facebook and incredibly, the two strangers had a mutual friend. Phillips sent a Facebook message to Prazeres, asking if the ring was his.
“Hello, Justin, I am actually speechless right now,” Prazeres wrote back in a post dated Aug. 8. “I am still in shock, I thought I would never see that ring again.”
He described how he lost the ring, and arranged to have it delivered to his mother-in-law in Winnipeg, who plans to take it to him on a trip to Portugal next year.
Prazeres had long ago replaced the ring but now he has special plans for the original.
“It’s going in the safe and it’s not coming out again,” he said with a laugh.