MAHONING COUNTY A rock for the ages? Sebring man thinks so
He says the rock has given him comfort and good luck.
SEBRING -- The instant Steven Wolfe picked up the rock from his neighbor's driveway more than two years ago, he got goosebumps.
Because what he saw -- and what others have seen when they look at the small rock that can easily fit in the palm of one hand -- are two eyes and hands and a whitish cross.
To Wolfe and others, it is the face of Jesus, and a shiny patch on the rock just below one of the eyes looks like a tear.
"I just said, 'Wow!' when I first saw it," the stay-at-home dad said in the front room of his Sebring home, while daughters Shannon, 5, and Ashley, 2, played together. His wife is a nursing supervisor at Salem Community Hospital.
"I just knew this was unique."
Wolfe shared the story with friends and neighbors and brought the rock to Sebring United Methodist Church for the Wednesday night prayer group.
In the past two years, he has even had strangers knock on his door and ask if they can pray for someone while rubbing the rock.
Wolfe said it's time for more people to view the rock, and on Monday, he will put the stone on the auction block at the eproauctions.com Web site.
Wolfe, 45, said he has no idea if he'll get "a dollar and fifty cents or a lot of money," but hopes the same company that paid $28,000 in December for a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary will buy his rock and put it on display.
That company, GoldenPalace.com, an online casino, has made other successful auction bids, paying $10,000 also in December to a Dallas homeless man for a plate from the Titanic.
Wolfe, who goes to church about three times a month but doesn't describe himself as particularly religious, said he does believe the rock has brought peace of mind and good luck.
He believes the cancers that both his mother and brother have been battling have remained in check because of the rock and his prayers. And he said his mom and aunt won $600 two weeks ago on pull-tabs at a bingo event after rubbing the rock.
Jeff Corbett, the former pastor at Sebring United Methodist who left in July and now is at Beverly (Ohio) United Methodist Church, said he believes the rock has strengthened Wolfe's faith.
"This is almost like a personal gift," he said. "I think a thousand people could look at that rock and not necessarily see the same thing. I think God gave that to him as a gift and I think he wants others to have the same feelings he has had because of that rock."
If the 10-day auction yields much money, Wolfe said he will donate some to the air-conditioning fund at the Sebring church, pay some bills and put some away for his daughter's college education.
"I want people to see this rock," he said. "I hate to let it go because there is so much of a comfort zone I have with it. But I've had my time with it."
Rooting him along is neighbor Kevin Walker, whose limestone load yielded the discovery more than two years ago. Walker said Wolfe often is out looking for rocks with his daughters. "I never would have seen it," he said. "It is pretty amazing he found it."
And so is the feeling the rock has given to Wolfe.
"I know the man is there and you may know that also," Wolfe said, referring to God. "But I got a little more of something than you got. I got him in my pocket."