July 22 • 01:47 AM

'Miracle' still touches lives across globe

Cross in fir tree brings tidings of comfort and joy to many

December 05, 2007
GOODLAND TWP. — You might say another miracle has happened to Dawn and Steve DeSutter.

Dawn's wish to spread the word about the comforting sign from above that showed itself in the shape of a cross in a Douglas fir tree on her Armstrong Road property has come true. In fact, it has exceeded her wildest expectations.

The cross in the tree soon branched out around the globe and touched thousands of the faithful and the curious after being posted on the Tri-City Times and Detroit Free Press Web sites.

"I think it's wonderful, it's just phenomenal," Dawn says. "I wanted to share this with everybody because I really think it's a sign because of what my husband went through."

Dawn is referring to Steve's sudden and intense bout with Fournier's gangrene—a flesh eating bacterial infection.

Diagnosed in mid- August, Steve, 57, was hospitalized for more than a month, underwent four surgeries and lost almost 30 pounds. At one point, doctors speculated that he had just a 20 percent chance of survival.

It was during Steve's hospital stay that Dawn discovered the cross in the tree, and took comfort in the sign from above—literally and figuratively—that her husband would be okay.

And he was.

After showing photos of the cross in the tree to her pastor, Rev. Alan Casillas of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Imlay City, both were convinced that Dawn should spread the word about the unusual phenomenon so others could find comfort or peace in the sign.

Many did. Once the Tri-City Times story and photo of the cross in the tree was posted on, the story was picked up by From there, thousands of people from around the world clicked on the headline which led them to the Tri-City Times Web site.

"I wasn't sure how so many people were picking up on the story," Dawn says.

Locally, word spread quickly about the DeSutters sign from above. Dawn says when Steve went to the local hardware store and gift shop, the clerks recognized him from the story in the paper.

"One said 'Hi, Steve, how are you? I saw the article in the newspaper and that's really great,'" Dawn says. "Then the other woman spoke up and said she saw it on Tom Brokaw."

Dawn was amazed when Steve told her the story.

"I said did you ask her this or that about (the Tom Brokaw piece) and he said no, I didn't ask,' and we never went back and asked her," Dawn says.

Whether or not something about the DeSutters cross in the tree appeared on a Tom Brokaw newscast, the story did appear in the Edmonton Journal in Alberta, Canada.

Cross that suddenly appeared in branches of DeSutters’ Douglas fir tree in September still growing strong.

Dawn found out when Casillas called to tell her about a uniquely addressed letter that made its way into his hands from the faraway locale.

The envelope reads:

Rev. Alan Casillas

c/o Lutheran Church

Imlay City, Michigan


That's it. The writer, Olga Bolt, mentioned the story, noting that she didn't have a computer.

"I would really appreciate a picture of the tree with this cross and am willing to make a generous donation to the church," Bolt wrote.

Of course, Dawn says, they're sending a photo and a note explaining that no donation is required.

"I'm so happy to show it to anyone," she says.

And shown it she has. Shortly after the story first broke, a few people drove by the DeSutters' home to see the cross. Since it's not really visible from the road, those who stopped were given a look.

Dawn is still taking calls from local folks, too, including one resident who called to ask if she could see the cross when her daughter visits from out of town.

"I told her she'd be welcome to stop and I hope she comes and sees it, I'd be happy to show it to her," Dawn says.

As for Steve's health, like the cross in the tree he's growing stronger every day. Dawn says he's just about healed.

She's glad that the cross has survived the change of seasons, and sees it as a confirmation of her faith and belief in miracles.

"The doctors said it would take a while but Steve's doing really well," Dawn says. "We have God to thank for that."

Still, she's hoping and praying for one more miracle. Steve's been out of work since February.

"If he could just find a job everything would be great," she says. "Then all of the miracles would be taken care of."

Castle Creek
07 - 22 - 19
Site Search


Thanks for visiting Tri City Times