SALT SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) - Sixty years of love kept Tom Arne from abandoning hope when he lost his wedding ring during a swim in Lake Kerr's murky waters.
With technology and determination on his side, the 80-year-old from Youngstown, Ohio, found the gold and diamond band after a brief search on Wednesday afternoon.
And now Arne has a story to tell to his wife Dorothy, who has Alzheimer's disease and osteoporosis and lives in an assisted living center in Austintown, Ohio, near their hometown.
"She'll probably laugh when she hears the story," Arne said. "She doesn't remember things for very long. But she hasn't forgotten me."
For 12 years, the Arnes spent the winter in Salt Springs Village, about 60 miles north of Orlando.
This year was different. Five months ago, Tom Arne put his wife in the center after caring for her for two years.
He recently came south to sell their Florida hideaway.
"This is the first time we haven't been here together," Arne said. "Learning to live by yourself is quite an adjustment. I don't relish it."
So when Arne lost the ring on Monday, his friends vowed to help. Local experts Andy Adams and Leonard Murray showed Arne how to use a new waterproof metal detector.
Arne stood soaked in his shirt and navy trunks for fifteen minutes Wednesday, waving the metal detector where he thought the ring dropped. Nothing.
Then Adams waded in. Within five minutes, Adams stuck his head out the water and smiled.
"I could tell by the look on his face that he had it," Arne said.
Arne said he couldn't go back to Ohio without the ring that symbolizes his relationship with "the best-looking woman on my side of the country."
"I wouldn't have left here without it," he said.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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