DSC01972Will County Historical Research and Recovery Association members are avid hobbyists that spend many hours enjoying the great outdoors and the pursuit of lost treasures and relics. We find coins both modern and old. Often we find lost jewelry and other articles. Unfortunately much of the time there is no way to identify the owner of a lost item. Occasionally circumstances allow us to reunite a lost treasure with its owner.
If you have lost something and would like our assistance in attempting to recover the item, send an email to info@wchrra.org. Click on the Find It Services link for additional information.

Other stories here are about WCHRRA members that go out of the way to help out the environment, people, government agencies and other events. These stories here about WCHRA members and their good deeds.

Jan 2022

WCHRRA club president, Chester K. was out clearing snow after another January snowfall when he saw a neighbor across the street scrapping snow back onto his sidewalk. The neighbors would go to the edge of the sidewalk, scrap a pile of snow, smash it down and peer intently at the snow. Curiosity got the better of Chester and he walked over to where the neighbor was working. A short conversation revealed that the neighbor while blowing the light and fluffy snow somehow lost his keys out of his coat pocket. He had keys to his car, his wife’s car, the house, the office, and a variety of other keys on the keyring. He had been searching for over 45 minutes. Chester being resourceful detectorist volunteered to get his meatal detector out and assist with the search. After about 15 minutes of doing a pattern search, Chester got a signal about 25’ from the sidewalk and discovered the keys. The neighbor was surprised that they were so far of the sidewalk until he remembered that he heard a clunking sound while snow blowing while making another pass. A hearty handshake and a plate of homemade cookies was all the reward necessary.

July 2021

One of WCHRRA club members, Dennis G. found a class ring during an exclusive special permission hunt at a decommissioned golf course. The class ring had the owners name engraved in it and Dennis G. was able to track down the owner, Judge Nash a judicial court associate of the 12th District in Will County. The story made the local newspaper, the Joliet Herald news, the Thursday July 29 edition. The ring was found almost to the day it was lost some fourteen years ago.

Dennis got in touch with Judge Nash and invited him to our July 24th club meeting so Dennis could return the ring to him. Dennis presented the ring to Judge Nash and Judge Nash told us the story of what the ring meant to him. His story was one that went back over 14 years ago when Judge Nash was playing golf. Heat and humidity made his hands swell and he took that ring and his wedding ring. After finishing playing golf Judge Nash retrieved his wedding ring but the class rings was gone. The story of the ring went back even further. The ring was a gift from his father when Judge Nash graduated form college.

To watch and hear the rest of the story the video of the presentation, check it out on youtube.com at this link: https://youtu.be/qdk6AwSf7cs

March 27, 2019
Tom K. club Member
This short article is by Tom K. 
Good Samaritan #3.
Another awesome recovery for this man his 14k wedding band in less than 5 minutes!!!
From Jan N. Tom, please tell us the background story on this. It is awesome that you helped this man recover what looks like a real nice ring but fill us in on the details so that people can read that we are not bad people.
Standard storyline lost it yesterday while sitting on beach with wife finger hurt from a old injury took it off and poof it's gone ...  He could not sleep, up at 3am came to beach early to see if a detectorist was around and there I was...

March 7, 2019

Bob G. Club Member

FaceBook posting. Bob G. spotted a FaceBook post where someone left a message about losing a family heirloom rings, here's just a part of the story.
March 7 at 7:44 PM

Update on a ring that I had found at Coaches Corner parking lot in Orland Park after seeing a Facebook post by Kathleen for her husband's lost ring.The sentimental ring belonged to Jim's father and was given to Jim by his Mother when his Father had passed. The ring was handed down from Jim's Grandfather to Jim's Father. Jim said the ring was probably given to his Grandfather as payment for garbage pickup by the Grandfather's Garbage Pickup business for downtown Chicago businesses. During the Depression, with cash being scarce, bartering was common.

Here is Facebook post by Kathleen after I went their home to return Jim's ring...

"Well! All of those prayers worked and my husband's ring which was lost for three weeks, was found! St. Anthony works! This post was shared by Snowie Happie Flynn on her Facebook page. Bob Gaynor, who is a metal detector enthusiast from Orland Park, contacted me. Bob Gaynor went over to the parking lot after the snow melted and found the ring on the mulch-sparkling in the sunlight! This is a miracle!

My husband who does not own a cell phone and is clueless about Facebook didn't even know I had posted it. Bob Gaynor came to our home with the ring and wouldn't accept any compensation. We had a great conversation about his metal detecting hobby. There are wonderful people in the world.....and it truly is a small world. Bob Gaynor is Snowie Happie Flynn's ( Patty Flynn's ) cousin. I went to school in Visitation, in Chicago, with her. Bob Gaynor is from my my old parish, St Bede. Try 3 degrees of separation! I really do appreciate all of you who shared the post and for those of you who said prayers-it worked."

...and some comments on Kathleen's Facebook post,

"That is great Bob, great job and thank you!"

"Bob is our hero!"

February 3, 2019

Tom K
FaceBook posting. Tom K. vacationing in Florida, was approached by a young newlywed lady who lost het ring. Success he found it.

This young lady lost her wedding diamond ring yesterday on the beach ,she approached me this morning.I used her matching wedding band for a reference vdi 47 and began my sweeps, very quickly I hit a 47 in the area and Bam here's the result. What a Great feeling to be able to do this......Happy Hunting!!!

June 2018

Ron Offerman finds a wallet in Illinois that belongs to a man in Florida.  Ron reported that he was not using his metal detector yesterday, but always searching with his eyes. He spotted a wallet laying in the middle of the road as he was returning from one of his customers. He opened it up to get an address, and saw that the 75 year old owner lived in Florida. Ron said “No, it could not be as easy as walking it up to the house I found it in front of”. He drove up and down the street hoping to find a vehicle in a driveway with a Florida plates on it. No such luck. He continued to search the wallet which contained a driver’s license, SS cards, 5 credit cards, 3 - $2 bills, a tiny copy of his wedding certificate, and various other cards typically found in a wallet. It was an identity thief’s delight. Once he got home he did some research on the internet, and in a short period of time came up with a person who had the same last name and only lived 2 blocks from where he found the wallet. Ron and his wife made the 15 minute drive back to the town. As he turned onto the street there sat a van in the driveway with Florida plates. Ron figured this had to be the owner. He knocked on the door and a lady in her 70’s answered. Ron inquired if David --------- lived or was staying in the house. She said yes and who by then was standing in the door. Seeing his face matched the driver’s license picture, Ron knew he had found the owner. David offered a reward but Ron said that he didn’t want anything more than a picture; which he was happy to take. The smile on his and his wife’s face is reward enough for Ron. David said that he and his wife were visiting their son and he had set the wallet on the roof of his van when he drove off. When he went around the corner 2 blocks away it had fallen off the roof. 800 miles, yet only15 minutes away made this a very special feel good moment.

September 2017
After being contacted by Chester, to help a man find his lost White Gold wedding band, Ron Offerman was happy to help out.  Searching thru a huge pile of wood chips from 2 trees that had been cut down, was uneventful.  After hunting for an hour and fifteen minutes Ron had still not found the ring.  After asking the man where he was cutting down the trees; he mentionioned another home about 7 miles away.  They proceeded to that home to ask the homeowner if they could look around.  It turns out, Ron only lives 5 doors from this yard, and the man was one of his teachers in Jr. High School.  He gladly gave Ron permission to search the 2 piles of wood chips that were in his front yard.  After picking one pile and turning on his detector, Ron found the ring inside of a minute !  This made for one happy man, he has only been married for 4 months.  Ron told him "He better glue that ring on his finger!

September 2015

The following email from Arlen P. came a few days ago and it just shows that this metal detecting hobby is one that has benefits beyond just finding coins.

Hi Chester. Sorry I missed the picnic, but still not doing too much after I had a heart attack, but I had a good day. I was approached by a neighbor by the park I detect. He asked if I could look for lost jewelry and I told him I could try. He said it had been missing for a year or 2. It was lost in a 20 by 30-foot area. After initially searching Friday, I searched for about 90 minutes, when checking a weak signal, up pops the ring. No one was home, but a neighbor texted the wife, Sue and an hour later I returned the long-lost ring, Found it, it was lost in 2009 or 2010.
Was a great feeling returning the ring which was worth well over $10,000. She wanted to give me 250 dollars, but I declined. I did agree with a hug. Told her I was a member of WCHRRA and any member would assist freely for lost jewelry. I now understand being able to reunite someone with a lost heirloom. Platinum band with square cut diamond and 8 diamond chips.

November 2012

Thank you, Darren Brooks!!
I lost my mom's class ring in April of 2012 and my mom has been recently asking about it. I felt awful and decided to search for it even more, but I needed major help. My superintendent at my school told me about Darren; so, I contacted his wife and within two days we got together at the local park and he found the ring in less than a half hour! I have never been so relieved and ecstatic in my life. I feel like I owe him my life because this ring means so much to me. Thank you again, Darren!

September 2012 Two stories this month.
The first story is from club member Ken L.

I don't know whether or not this qualifies as a good deed story, but it made a lady happy.
While doing some lunch break detecting at work I found a little blue aluminum dog tag with the name Daisy Belle, a phone number, and the owner's address on it in a grassy area of a public park about 3" down. With a little Internet research, I found the email address of the owners and sent them a note explaining that I had found Daisy Belle's tag while I was metal detecting and asked if they would like to have it back.
The lady wrote back saying that their Black Lab Daisy Belle had passed away a couple years ago, and that the tag I found was lost when she was being watched by friends at least 5 years ago. She was happy that I found the tag because when they finally made the decision to put Daisy down the vet forgot to give them back her collar and tags that they would have liked to keep to remember her by. She explained that the tag I found was the one that Daisy wore most of her life. Today I mailed the tag back with a note stating that I hope the tag brings back fond memories of her friend Daisy.
It was nice to make the lady happy.

The second story was referral from one of our club members, Wes R.

WCHRRA member Wes R received a phone call from a friend about a lady, Shirley, in Lisle that needed some help finding a lost ring in her backyard. Since the location was only 10 minutes away from Sharon K's house, she went out to the Shirley's home to see if she could find the ring.
Shirley recently lost her husband a couple of months ago and gave each of her children a keepsake. One son received his father's watch, the other son received his father's wedding band that was replaced after it was lost in the garden. and the daughter received her fathers gold necklace. After some family discussion there was a concern about who got which keepsake. That's when Sharon took the call to look for the original lost ring.
Arriving on site, Shirley showed Sharon the area in the garden she thought her husband lost the ring while rototilling. Sharon hunt the area without any luck initially and expanded the search area to the entire backyard. Shirley's son stopped by and provided some additional details.
After hunting a section, Sharon realized that her inline pinpoint probe was turned on and she immediately went back over the same area. When she retraced her steps, the Fisher F75 sounded off with a target and digging the plug revealed the ring neatly sitting in the rolled over plug.
Shirley was overjoyed at the discovery of the wedding band which had been lost over ten years. Finding the original wedding band made what was a sad time in Shirley's life a bright moment in time for Shirley and her family.

April 2012

Another Good Deed by & from Darren B.

My ex-neighbor called me and said a friend had lost a wedding ring in her yard. I contacted Anne and was told she had a good idea where she lost it. She and her children had looked for a hour or so on hand and knees with no luck. I went to her house Thursday night after work. Luckily she was pretty close with her approximate drop sight. Took about 5 minutes to find the ring. The look on her face when I hollered "I found it" made my day. That's what makes this such a great hobby. I have enclosed a copy of the thank you card she sent.

March 2012

Recently one of our club members was out enjoy the first warm days of spring. Dee was in Pilcher Park and spotted a backpack laying in the grass. Being a treasure hunter, her instincts kicked in and she went over to the backpack and discovered it contained among other things a family Bible. Dee contacted Rose Paneri of the Joliet Herald and was successful in locating the owner.

 March 2012

WCHRRA Find It Service received an email asking for assistance in finding a lost engagement ring by an insurance agent and his client. The ring was lost two weeks before and after an exhaustive search by the owners, they retraced their steps but no luck. The insurance agent contacted the club through the our infor@wchrra.org email asking for help. Chester and Sharon volunteered to come out on what was a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon and after two and a half hours of searching Sharon located the lost ring in a flower bed along the foundation of the house under a flower pot. In addition, the 1/2 carat diamond, 14kt white gold ring, Sharon also found a S/S charm lost over 20 years before in the back yard and a gold-colored Avon ring which was lost by the owner’s daughter several years ago.

December 2009

We received the following email from Erin and Scott. Scott was out playing snowball catch with their dog after the first big snowfall of the year. While tossing snowballs back and forth, Scott's wedding ring flew off and was lost in the snow. Chester was able to go that Saturday to Bartlett, IL and after talking with Scott, he mapped out a grid in the common area of the townhouse complex and was able to find the ring about eight feet from where Scott thought he lost it. It was a great way to start Erin's and Scott's Christmas holiday.

First Email:

Dear helpful Metal Detector / recovery person,
My husband was in our front yard (which is a common area outside our townhouse).  He was playing in the snow and was throwing snowballs and his wedding ring slipped off his finger.  This just happened tonight.  It is a crazy snowstorm out, but we tried and tried to find it with no luck.  We moved some of the snow around, shoveling it up, and even tried to melt it in buckets with hot water. 

We have only been married a year and my husband feels horrible about this.  Is there any way someone could come out and use the metal detector...even with all this snow?  We live in Bartlett, IL. 

Thanks for any help you can give. 
Erin Bracken

Follow Up email:

Dear Chester,
Thank you so much for coming out to save the day!  Thank you for finding my husband's wedding ring.  We feel like you are our Christmas Angel being so kind to come out and find my husband's wedding ring especially in this cold winter weather!

When my husband was playing in the snow with our dog and throwing some snow balls back and forth with me, we never thought the outcome would be that he would lose his wedding ring!  Only having been married a year, he sometimes still isn't used to wearing jewelry--especially a ring.  The cold snow on his hand made it so the ring slipped right off.  We looked and looked for the ring, but we were really worried that the more snow that kept falling would make it a lost cause to find it.  We actually thought we would have to wait until spring for all the snow to melt and even then, we thought it would be an unlikely chance that we would find it. 

We are so grateful for your kindness and your willingness to come out and look for the ring!  We are so appreciative that you found it!  It sounds like you and the Will County Historical Research & Recovery Assoc. do some wonderful work for others while doing something you truly enjoy.  Thanks for your "good deed" and we will think of you and your kindness often, especially when looking at Scott's ring!  We also plan to "pay it forward" and make sure that we do good deeds for others.

Thank you,
Erin and Scott Bracken

November 2009

Bob Culver related the story of his hunt for the lost engagement ring during this November meeting. We received the email below about John's fiancée losing her ring while raking leaves. A phone call to Bob was placed and he was able to respond almost immediately. He spent some time looking for the ring and after it was too dark to see anymore Bob and John were about to abandon the hunt when while demonstrating a spare metal detector that Bob had brought along the ring was discover literally right below Bob's coil. Bob's excitement about the find was clearly evident.

First email:

My fiancée lost her engagement ring on Saturday while we were raking leaves at our house in Oak Forest.  I have tried using a metal detector on the lawn, but since I am a complete novice, I have had no luck thus far.  I came across your website just now, and I was wondering if there was anything your organization could do to help.  I saw your "Find It Services" tab and immediately wanted to contact you.  As of right now, we believe it could be in one of three locations:  In our front yard, in the bags of leaves, or in a field a few houses away (as we were bagging our leaves, a neighbor saw us and loaned us a large tarp so we could transport the leaves down the street to a forest rather than bagging them all).  My fiancée is beside herself with despair, fearing that all is lost.  Please let me know if there is any way in which you would be willing to help.  Thank you for your time, and I eagerly look forward to hearing from you.

John Archer

Follow up email:


I want to thank you so much for putting me in touch with Bob.  As you may have already heard, he found my fiancée's ring last night in the pitch dark while showing me how to use a spare metal detector he was going to loan me. I can't tell you how happy we are now, and it's thanks to you, Bob, and your entire organization. If there's anything I can ever do for you, please let me know.

Thank you again,

John Archer

October 2009

We received this email from Eric Bright, a police officer for the City of Sandwich Il. He was requesting help in a follow up attempt to recover evidence from a home invasion. Ten members from our club met at the Sandwich Police Dept offices where we were briefed on what happened and the area where the officer wanted us to go over. It was a cold and windy Halloween day. We hunted for about four hours. Although we didn't find the cutting instrument, we did help Officer Bright to demonstrate that the Sandwich Police Dept was still actively investigating the case.

My Name is Eric Bright, I am a Police Officer employed by the City of Sandwich. I am respectfully requesting your assistance in an evidence recovery effort. We are in search of a cutting instrument used in a home invasion. We hope with your assistance we might recover said item. My contact info...
Thank you in advance.
Eric Bright

July 2009

Tony Lisy a long-time member of WCHRRA recently had discovered a century old brass motorman's button from the Elgin, Aurora and Southern Traction Co. while metal detecting in location on Plainfield Rd. Tony researched the button and after determining its history decided to donate the button to the Fox Valley Trolley Museum. Tony mounted the button, pictures of where he discovered it, along with a map and information on a plaque. He showed off his find and the plaque at July meeting. This is a great way of sharing our hobby with others and showing off a bit of everyday history.


April 2009

The club received a poignant letter from Dr. L. Clark about a sad event that occurred in 1992. A young woman was kidnapped and murdered and her body was dumped in a state park near Yorkville. Dr. Clark had sponsored the woman and the family was devastated. Several articles of her's were not recovery from the man who killed her and may have been on her person when the body was hidden. Dr. Clark asked if the club could assist and detect the area around where the young woman body was discovered. She had made contact with the detective and park ranger to let them know she was asking for help from the club to look for the items. We had several members volunteer to look for the items but due to the heavy undergrowth in the area, it was tough hunting and no luck in finding anything.


March 2009

Club member Ron returns a brass Social Security Card to Jamie J. The card belonged to Jamie's great great Uncle George H, who was the original homesteader of the property Jamie's family now owns. It consists of 240 acres in Earlsboro, OK.

Ron and his son obtained permission to hunt the property and the Social Security card was found there. It was serendipitous that Jamie was there while Ron was hunting and the card was a total surprise to her. Jamie is currently working on a tracing the family's genealogy and this is an unexpected treasure.

Photo: Ron and Jamie holding Great Great Uncle George's brass Social Security Card.


February 2008

Club members, Sharon and Chester, responded to a request to find a lost wedding ring that came through the Find It Services link of the WCHRRA.org website. The email asked if there was a way for someone with a metal detector could come over and look for a ring that was lost in the backyard of their house.

Greg and Deb, the homeowners, had been working in the backyard and some how Deb’s wedding ring set got lost a “couple of years ago” according to Greg. Chester and Sharon offered to try and recover the rings. Greg said that he had rented a metal detector and looked for it but the noises and beeps coming from the machine drove him nuts and were frustrating.

Sharon and Chester met with Greg, determined the approximate area where the ring was lost, “around the tree somewhere” began hunting. Using a grid pattern and digging every signal it took a couple of hours to cover about half the backyard. In the process, numerous coins, a pair of gold earrings, much trash targets and yes, the wedding ring set was found. The rings were found about three inches down and about thirty-five feet away from the tree, five feet from the patio. The rings were 14kt white gold with a half-carat diamond and about a half carat of side stones.

Chester knocked on the backdoor and showed the ring to Greg, who then called his wife, Deb out. Deb seeing the dirt covered rings let a shout of surprise and tears came. She was so happy that she was shaking. She also announced to all that the rings had been lost for over nine years (not two) and she never expected to see them again.

It was a fun and rewarding experience for both couples.

May 2007

WCHRRA club member, Darren recently hunted an old home site property and discovered a piece of personal history for the owner. Here’s the letter that he received.

Dear Darren,

A very belated Thank You for giving me the crucifix you found. It is very meaningful to me. Some things you may be interested to know. I believe it to be the cross off my grandmother’s First Communion rosary. That would have been in 1915.

I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to get it to me. I want to have it made into a necklace.

Keep hunting!

May 2007

WCHRRA club member, Bob, got an emergency phone call from his nephew about a lost wedding ring. His nephew was having some landscaping done around his house and the landscaper noticed that his wedding ring was missing. A phone call was made to Uncle Bob and the hunt was on. Bob hunted for several hours without any luck finding the ring. After a short break and some refreshment, Bob decided to make one more attempt at locating the ring. As he was working the area around some newly installed decorative fencing, Bob got a signal at 7”. Thinking that was too deep for a recently lost ring, he was about to walk away but that signal sounded too good to pass up. After pulling up the fence and digging down to the target, out pops out the lost wedding ring. Apparently as the landscaper was pounding in the fence stakes the ring came off and caught on the stake and down it went. The day was saved!