CHELSEA, Vt. (WCAX) After working as a security officer for the state of Vermont for 13 years, one man is taking on a different kind of metal detecting. Along the way, he's helping people who were once at a loss.
Like most retirees, Daniel Plummer is keeping busy.
"I was looking for something that would get me outside and give me fresh air and exercise," Plummer said.
You can find him a couple of days a week at Heath Recreation Field in Chelsea, as he calls it, dirt fishing.
"I've done this whole field from one end to the other. I love metal detecting. Who doesn't like finding treasure in the ground?" Plummer said.
One such treasure was a 1994 class ring from South Royalton High School.
"I was in utter disbelief.," said Amy Cruz, the ring's owner.
Twenty-six years ago, Cruz had left the ring on the dresser of an acquaintance in South Royalton. She went back to get it the next day and the acquaintance said it wasn't there.
"I was very upset that I had lost it. It was a pretty big investment that I had paid for on my own," Cruz said.
Plummer found the ring 25 minutes away from South Royalton in about 5 inches of dirt. He eventually tracked down Cruz through social media, using her name engraved on the inside as a first step. Cruz's maiden name made it a little trickier.
"I immediately put it on my finger and it fit-- which was amazing-- but it really brought me back to my senior year in high school," Cruz said.
Last year, Plummer uncovered about 10 rings. He's also come across about 1,000 coins, 600 of them quarters.
"You never know what you're going to pull out of the ground. You're casting out a frequency, it's bouncing off something, coming back. It could be a bottle cap, it could be whatever," he said.
But in Cruz's case, it was much more than worthless whatever. It was a priceless piece of her adolescence.
"He could have easily kept the ring or scrapped it or whatever, but instead he chose to reach out to me and find it and knew that it was sentimental to me, which is really amazing," she said.
"It gives me a real feeling of fulfillment to find something like that and give it back to the owner. If that were me, I'd like for someone to do that for me," Plummer said.
He recently found another class ring in Williamstown. He was able to track down the owner, who was living in Alabama. He shipped it back to him using money that he found from coins he recovered in the ground.