Diver reunites man with wedding band made from late father-in-law's ring

A scuba diver reunited an Austin man with his lost wedding band Thursday. 

Ryan Ekno was out on “The Ark” party barge with his wife Tiffany for a work party Thursday afternoon. The two were out on a lilypad when they realized they were both wearing their rings. Ryan Ekno went to grab the boat to head back in, but his ring caught the edge of the boat and was launched into the water. 

“When he said ‘oh my God honey, my ring fell off.’ I looked at him, I said, ‘no, you’re joking!’ Tiffany Ekno explained. 

The ring was made from the wedding band Tiffany Ekno’s father once wore. 

In 2009, her father Mark Irby went missing after leaving his family cabin in northern Arizona. The second night of the search, a massive snow storm struck the area. Ekno says it took more than six months for her father's remains to be recovered. The family would later learn that he had injured his leg in an ATV accident.

Ekno says months into the search, the family decided they needed to return to work. Her mother, a dental hygienist, was cleaning Ryan Ekno’s teeth when she decided to set him up with her daughter. 

“She said she just had this strange feeling that my dad was kind of tapping her on the shoulder,” she said of her mother. 

When the pair got engaged, Tiffany Ekno’s mother gifted them her father’s wedding band. The pair melted down the gold and made Ryan Ekno's band. 

Tiffany Ekno describes her husband's ring as “a blending of two of the most incredible men I’ve ever known and had the privilege to love" and losing the ring as “horrifying.” 

“When somebody dies in a way that is so tragic," she said. "The impact is long-lasting... I think I almost didn’t realize how much is there under the surface until something like that happened, and I was faced with losing something that had such meaning."

Ekno’s pain did resurface, but thankfully, it did not take long for the ring to do the same. 

Robert Eisenberg, the captain of The Ark, dropped markers and took photos in the area the ring was dropped. He contacted Robert Weiss, owner and operator of Lake Travis Scuba, to enlist his help. 

“All of a sudden I notice this flash, nice sparkle, and you know there’s like a ‘woohoo’ moment you know, that’s gotta be it," Weiss said. "Went over, the ring was sitting on a rock right over a ledge."

Tiffany Ekno says she thinks her dad was watching over them in that moment.

“He surfaced with it and told us it had fallen maybe an inch or so from a giant crevice and would have disappeared into the rocks forever," Tiffany Ekno said. "So I think my dad was watching over us, he was making sure that ring was gonna stay with us."