Ask Phyllis and Donald Kilgore of Spruce, and they'll tell you miracles really do still happen.
About five years ago, a high school buddy of Donald's tried to persuade him to take a motorcycle trip together to Alaska. Donald repeatedly declined the invitation on the basis the trip would be far too costly, especially since he had previously sold his motorcycle and would need to purchase a new one to make it to Alaska.
But the friend kept persisting, and finally Phyllis told him to just do it. With his wife's blessing, Donald soon purchased an $18,000 motorcycle and left on a five-week trip that cost him an additional $4,000.
When Phyllis Kilgore of Spruce recently lost a keepsake diamond ring, Bill Schaedig, who she didn’t know at the time, went above and beyond the call of duty to find it for her.
"I felt so bad when I got home," Donald said.
To assuage his guilt over having spent so much money on himself, Donald ventured into Bolenz Jewelry in Alpena, where in a gesture aimed at wanting to make things a little more equitable between them, Donald surprised Phyllis with a new diamond ring valued at around $4,000.
The ring meant a lot to his wife, and though Phyllis didn't wear it every day, she did have it on Thursday of last week when she and Donald came to Alpena to run a long list of errands. Their stops included the dentist office, Frank's Lock and Key, Staples, Perch's IGA, Child and Family Services where their daughter works and Walmart, where they ended their shopping excursion by getting groceries and a few other items.
Upon their arrival back home in Spruce, Phyllis, who had recently been ill and lost some weight, quickly realized the ring had slipped off her finger somewhere during their full day of travels.
"Once we got home, that's when I discovered my hand was bare," she said. "Then I came unglued and went through the shopping bags. We called everyone in the places where we'd been and asked them to look."
Distraught about the turn of events, Phyllis also called her sister to lament about the lost ring and received some advice from her nephew, who used to work at Walmart. The nephew, Terry Traskos, suggested she call Bill Schaedig, a night floor maintenance supervisor at Walmart.
"My nephew used to work with Bill, knew him and told me he was such a nice person who would try to help," Phyllis said. "I figured I may have lost the ring in the bathroom at Walmart and that maybe Bill could look through the garbage can in there and perhaps take the sink traps apart."
The couple followed through with the nephew's suggestion and got in touch with Schaedig. He agreed to keep his eye out for the ring while he did his appointed rounds that evening.
Phyllis and Donald then did the only other thing they knew to do rely on their faith in God.
"I prayed all night to the Lord," Phyllis said, "and I told him I was sorry I had admired the ring so much before him."
Donald also prayed and took to his knees early the next morning, asking God to have someone call and say the ring had been found.
A short time later, that's exactly what happened.
Just before 9 a.m., the couple received a call from Schaedig telling them the lost ring had been found.
"She started crying right there on the phone," Donald said of his very jubilant and thankful wife.
As for Schaedig's part in the recovery process, not only did he personally give the Walmart women's bathroom an unfruitful once over in search of the ring, but he also talked with his crew at the start of their shift and asked them to be on the look out while they carried out their regular duties, including sweeping the floors.
Although his co-workers agreed to aid in the search, in the end, it was Schaedig who found it. Around 3 a.m., as he was doing his part to sweep the store, he spotted the ring on the floor in the store's dairy section.
"It was by the kick rail of the dairy case," Schaedig said. "I was surprised when I found it. I thought, yeah, this is worth a little bit of money."
He was excited to be able to call the couple with the great news, but decided it would be best to wait until a more acceptable hour. Ultimately, the three of them decided to meet at McDonald's on US-23-S later in the morning so that Phyllis could happily retrieve her ring.
Today, after having met Schaedig and hearing the lengths he went to help them, the couple believes their nephew was completely accurate when he spoke so highly of Schaedig's character. And with the ring now once again securely in place on her hand, Phyllis and her husband also believe that miracles, be they large or small, still occur in life.