(NBC) - A fire chief who lost his wedding ring fighting a fire at a home in Wareham, Massachusetts 11 years ago recently received a welcome surprise.
Wareham resident Bruce Treadwell was raking his front yard when he found something shiny.
"I thought it was one of the kids' rings, our grandkids' rings. They might have just thrown away a play ring or something like that," Treadwell said.
Bruce and his wife Judith knew it wasn't just any ring.
The ring belongs to Wareham Fire Chief Robert McDuffy, who has now been married now for nearly 25 years and lost the wedding band more than a decade ago while fighting a fire at the Treadwells' home.
"When I got on the phone with him he was so excited," said Judith Treadwell.
"Sure enough as soon as I got there, it was my ring," said Chief McDuffy. "I was in disbelief because ten years, it was in the ground."
Chief McDuffy first realized he had lost the ring shortly after the fire had been put out and began his search.
"We actually returned to the site with a metal detector to try to find the ring, we didn't find the ring," said Chief McDuffy.
The Treadwells know how much a wedding ring means.
They've been married for 20 years themselves and never stopped looking.
"We looked for it for years and years and years. I kept looking, every time I'd rake the lawn or mow the lawn, we kept looking for it," said Bruce Treadwell.
It turns out they had been looking on the wrong side of the house the whole time.
"He saved our house. We have a place to live now and he lost his ring and I said if we ever find it, we'll give it to him," said Bruce Treadwell.
"I immediately went home to show my wife and she was as excited as I was," said Chief McDuffy.
Chief McDuffy gave the couple some money as a thank you for finding his ring.
The couple said the money went toward repairing Bruce's car, which broke down the same day he found the ring.