Rye, NH Police Department Olivia Ireland with her engagement ring
A woman has been reunited with her lost engagement ring — all thanks to a New Hampshire officer who went out of his way to find it on the beach.
Animal Control Officer Bob McGrath was patrolling Cable Beach in Rye on Saturday when he encountered a woman named Olivia Ireland, who was metal detecting along the sand, according to a Facebook post from the Rye Police Department.
"I saw the lady near the water with a metal detector, on a busy, busy beach day and thought it was a little odd," McGrath explained to The Portsmouth Herald. "Being a person who used metal detectors for most of my life, I went and asked if she was having any luck."
Through his conversation with Ireland, McGrath learned that she was attempting to find her lost engagement ring, which recently fell off her hand in the water, the Facebook post stated.
According to police, Ireland said the ring had been given to her by her fiancé just one month earlier and she was "trying desperately to find it."
"I was in the water up to my knees and I felt it slip off," Ireland recalled to the Herald. "I saw it fall but then couldn't find it. I was there with some coworkers and we tried for several hours to find it."
Rye, NH Police Department Olivia's engagement ring
After hearing her story, McGrath — who has been metal detecting since he was 14, per the Herald — knew he had to help.
Around 9:30 p.m., the animal control officer returned to the beach when it was low tide and began checking the area with his metal detector.
It only took about an hour before McGrath was successful in his efforts and found the lost ring. The officer told the Herald it was buried under about six inches of sand.
Because it was late at the time of his discovery, McGrath waited until Sunday morning to deliver the good news to Ireland, according to the Herald.
"I knew it was her ring," McGrath told the newspaper. "She was so happy, she cried."
Later that day, McGrath had the pleasure of returning the beloved piece of jewelry to Ireland, according to police. The exciting moment was captured in a photo and showed Ireland beaming as she held up her hand with the sparkling diamond ring on her finger.
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"Few things are better than seeing the joy in someone's face when they are reunited with something they think they have lost forever," the police wrote in their post. "Congratulations Olivia on your engagement and being reunited with your ring!"
Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh later praised McGrath and his actions, telling the Herald: "Bob is a police chief's dream. He goes the extra mile for people because he cares about them. When he saw this woman on the beach with a metal detector during a busy beach day, he knew something was wrong and he approached her to see if he could help. Police often get a bad reputation but he shows the trust and caring we want in our officers."
In the time since that day, Ireland said she's still in disbelief that McGrath went out of his way to help her — and that he was able to find her beloved ring.
"I am still in shock," Ireland told the Herald. "I never knew there were so many caring people willing to help until this happened. I never thought, in this vast ocean, that it would be found. I am so grateful to him, to everybody who tried to help. Bob is definitely the superstar of this story."
"I am so happy to share this story," she added. "There is so much negativity in the world today. This shows people care."