Dive team recovers man’s wallet lost 30 years ago

One man's adventure he took at Lake Tenkiller decades ago came rushing back after a dive team uncovered part of his past at the bottom of the lake.

GORE, Okla. — One Green Country man’s adventure he took at Lake Tenkiller decades ago came rushing back after a dive team uncovered part of his past at the bottom of the lake.

Thomas Youell is an avid diver. He spent years learning the art of diving at Gene’s Aqua Pro. It’s at this shop where Youell found himself taking a trip down memory lane after a wallet he lost 30 years ago made its way back into his hands.

“Oh it’s déjà vu, it’s just terrific,” Youell said. “I don’t remember anything about the date specifically. Just the affect it had on me.”

A dive three decades ago landed Youell back in Gene’s Aqua Pro, where members are family.

“You meet such nice people who are exciting and adventurous and friendly,” Youell said.

A recent dive lead by an Aqua Pro instructor dug up a piece history Thomas thought he’d lost forever.

“It was a time capsule at this point,” Youell said.

His wallet was lost on a dive in the ‘80s and recovered nearly 30 years later. The contents inside were all still intact.

“I found a driver’s license, Pepsi Cola I.D. card a pop and go movie rental card, and some group insurance cards,” he said.

All the credit goes to Courtney Neuhoefer, who found the wallet during a dive in Tenkiller. She said she was shocked to find the contents inside, but even more so to find the owner, a fellow diver.

Neuhoefer said she was on her last dive of the day and was retrieving the anchor to the boat. When she went to grab it, she said the wallet was sitting next to it.

She said she brought the wallet to the surface and began looking through the contents. After finding Youell’s I.D., she said she found him on Facebook and noticed he had pictures diving at lake Tenkiller in the exact spot she found the wallet.

“Divers are good at that,” Youell said. “We tend to mingle together fairly well.”

But the discovery is not about the wallet’s contents, but more so about Youell.

“I’m not surprised that it was returned at all,” Youell said. “I’ve returned everything I have ever found and I’ve had things returned to me.”

He hopes this is a lesson to everyone that good things happen to good people.

“It’s a kind of story that really benefits people to hear,” he said. “That we still do this.”

And with a little patience, an unexpected moment will come, to remind you the past is a treasure.