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Medallion lost at beach found months later, 50 miles away

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March 31 (UPI) -- A medallion lost at a beach by a Maryland firefighter in 2020 was found almost a year later by a man using his metal detector to search in the sand about 50 miles away.

Prince George's County Fire Battalion Chief Donny Fletcher, who received the medallion as a gift from his parents when he graduated from recruit school in 2005, said he was visiting the Outer Banks in summer 2020 when he decided to take off the necklace that held the medallion.

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Fletcher said he was concerned the shiny object could attract attention from sharks, so he left it with his things on the shore. The firefighter said he was devastated when a large wave hit the sand and washed away his possessions, including the necklace.

"We spread out across 40 or 50 yards wide by 20 yards deep, and we had 10 or 11 people out there digging," Fletcher told WRC-TV.

Fletcher said he eventually had to give up the search and lost hope of ever seeing his medallion again.

The firefighter's hopes were reignited this month when he was contacted by Ken Askey, a retiree who had picked up metal detecting as a hobby.

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Askey told Fletcher he had found the medallion while using his metal detector at a beach in Nags Head, N.C., about 50 miles away from where it was carried away by the wave. He used the ID number on the medallion to contact the fire department and identify Fletcher as the object's owner.

"Being able to find you and get the necklace back to you, that makes this hobby worthwhile," Askey said.

Fletcher said getting his medallion back was an emotional experience.

"It was like reuniting with an old friend," he said. "I took it out, I looked at it, I put it back on and I'm never going to take it off again."

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