-- Newlyweds Brooke and Steven Leavins never gave up hope of finding Brooke Leavins’ lost engagement ring.
Brooke Leavins lost the diamond ring after she applied sunscreen while on a boat on Alabama’s Coosa River.
“I had it on my finger and silly me, I just cleaned it that morning and I thought, ‘Oh, I don’t want to get sunscreen all over it’ and put it in the cup holder,” Brooke, 39, of Wetumpka, Alabama, told ABC News. “I had it in my fingertips and a bug landed on my arm and I went to flick the bug and I hit my fingertips on the Bimini rail and it just flew out into the water.
“It was our very first time out on our brand new pontoon boat and that was our very first experience,” she added of the fateful day. “We were having such a good time and then that happened and everyone was solemn. My husband said he couldn’t even look at that boat for the next several days until we went back out to look for it.”
They enlisted the help of Spencer Phillips, a scuba instructor and co-owner of Southern Skin Divers Supply, to help search for it underwater days later. The couple was smart when the ring first went into the water and photographed their exact location to remember exactly where to return with Phillips.
“Since we couldn’t communicate with him while he was in the water, we just helplessly looked at him searching,” Brooke recalled. “But once he got in the right spot he found it within 20 or 30 minutes. It may have been less than that. But he found it really quickly.”
Phillips found a discarded propeller stuck on the river floor that he was able to anchor himself to which helped him search using his metal detector.
“God put that propeller down there just for us,” said Brooke Leavins.
Phillips kept his needle-in-a-haystack find a bit of a secret until he was actually back in the boat.
“He didn’t say right away that he had it,” Brooke Leavins explained. “I think he winked at my husband and then he came back around to the back of the boat to get back in. He got up on the boat and he peeled back his glove and out comes the ring. Before he showed it to me he said, ‘I don’t know if this is the right ring but it’s a nice one.'
“It was amazing. I’m not a crier at all but I cried,” said an overwhelmed Brooke Leavins.
“I was confident if anybody could find it I could,” said Phillips. “But I knew it was going to be tough with no visibility. The fact they took pictures where they lost it helped a tremendous amount. And the fact they didn’t wait.”
Steven Leavins said finding the ring was definitely “a miracle.”
“We had a lot of friends and family praying,” he added. “We just got married on New Year’s Eve and I love my wife and when she hurts, I hurt. It was a really depressing week and I’m just so happy we found it.”
The happy couple said they are never wearing their wedding rings on their boat again.
“It’s definitely a life lesson. The rings are never going on the boat again,” said Brooke. “We leave those at home now. We both feel naked without our rings on so we’ll probably get some cheap boat rings to wear.”
The lucky wife said there was one thing that day that helped turn her grief into a smile.
“After a moment of sorrow, I looked at my husband and realized that losing my beautiful ring didn't matter because I still had my loving husband,” she explained. “He hadn't been lost so nothing else mattered in that moment.”