Don Neilan FL lost rings-Florida Today vid

Metal detecting is a common sight on shorelines, but people who set out to return the items – instead of making money from them – are hard to find.

Enter 89-year-old Don Neilan, who has been taking his trusty metal detector on special assignments for the last 30 years.

His mission: to reunite lost class rings with their owners.

So far, he’s been able to return almost two dozen of them that he’s found on the same beach near his Palm Bay, Florida home.Hobbes stuffed tiger airplane Tampa Airport1

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“It’s hard to explain,” Neilan told Florida Today. “The reward is so great. You could say I’m really a selfish person, because I really get so much pleasure out of it.”

Neilan says he’s unearthed rings, chains, watches, coins and even debris from the shuttle Challenger disaster, which he has turned over to police.

There’s one item he’s still hoping to deliver: a 1969 West Virginia University class ring he found on a beach in his town of Indialantic back in 1985.

(WATCH the video or READ more at Florida TodayPhoto: Florida Today video – Story tip from Dick Baumbach

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