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The seeker of lost items; the payment of seeing the immeasurable joy that comes with things found

June 17, 2022
By Tonya Bramlage

What do people do when they have lost something valuable at the beach? We never quite know how it happens, but when the moment comes, we realize the crisis instantly. We identify the unsettling experience as that of an “OH NO! It’s lost” feeling. 

The power of a single moment can ruin our day. Sometimes that feeling is quickly dismissed as we retrace our steps and find the lost item. But in other circumstances when those “hard to find” items become truly lost, that’s when metal detectorist John Snyder’s speciality comes in handy

Southwest Florida’s local detectorist, John Snyder makes contributions to metal detecting that go far beyond his personal mission to unearth lost items. Two decades ago he joined the ranks of mission-minded metal detectorists as a way to serve others. He became a member of The Ring Finders. The esteemed and highly acclaimed network of metal dectectorists, spanning 22 countries, was founded 25 years ago by Chris Turner, a retired soccer player who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. The premise behind the service was simple: If you discover that you have misplaced your ring or other metal valuable such as your keys, you can use the organization’s free online directory to locate a Ring Finder detectorist near you.

Each member has their own individual page of service offerings on The Ring Finders directory. For a nominal fee to cover travel expenses, or by a cash reward system, detectorists like John Snyder will  gladly meet you with a metal detector in hand, ready to search for your lost item. He’ll ask questions like, “Did you put lotion on at the beach?” and “When you were gardening, did you put on gloves?” And, just like a detective, he often learns quite a bit about his clients as they describe how they lost their rings or other valuable metal.

Recently, while vacationing in Florida and visiting the Boca Grande beach state park, a panic-stricken woman called John in search of her missing engagement ring. Wandering around the beach, led by a medley of beeps and whirs that sounded like an ’80s video game, miraculously John was able to locate the missing diamond ring three days after it had been lost in the water. 

What makes this story even more remarkable is the fact that John found it on the 20th anniversary date of the woman’s original engagement proposal. Beyond the gold and treasure, detectorists are really story collectors and do-gooders at heart. 

Collectively, detectorists are random chroniclers of subterranean history. They find it practically impossible to go anywhere without strangers approaching them to ask, “Did you find anything?” 

The state of Florida has the fourth-largest economy in the U.S. and is a haven for hobbyists who love beach metal- detecting. “Life is action and life is motion,” John declares. “Time is critical. The sooner a metal-detecting specialist such as myself can perform a search for your lost item, the better the chances of recovery.” 

A retired United States Navy veteran and avid metal detectorist, John Snyder provides an invaluable service to our community and to visitors by offering them a second chance to find what was once thought to be lost forever. 

John himself freely admits that the significant part of what once began as a mere hobby now affords him the regular opportunity to meditate, relieve distress from his day-to- day life and remain mentally sharp while uncovering numerous priceless treasures for others. If you, or someone you know, loses something of significant personal value, John can be contacted through the directory at Perspiration and inspiration included.