While camping in Sea Isle City last summer, SMC Patient Access Representative Sue Heller made someone smile.
“Sea Isle has rocks,” she said, referring to the delightfully painted rocks that can be found around the popular beach town. When someone finds a rock, they post a picture on the Sea Isle Rocks
Facebook page and then re-hide the piece of art.
A woman who stays at the same campground as Heller — and had just lost her husband — had never found a rock.
“So, I put one about 10 feet from her car,” Heller said. “When she found the rock, it made her day.”
Seeing the grieving woman smile made Heller want to continue spreading joy via rocks.
In September, she began hiding rocks at SMC.
“I hid the first ones outside the main entrance,” she said. “They were there for about a week before anyone would touch them.”
Finally, an Emergency Department Registrar gathered them up.
“She was so excited!”
Heller’s goal, when she first brought painted rocks to the hospital, was to lift staff moral and “just have fun.”
“I wanted to do something to make people smile,” she said. “If I make one person smile a day, that’s what it’s all about.”
Heller has painted approximately 600 rocks for SMC and others. She covers them in inspirational thoughts and colorful designs.
“It’s therapeutic, really,” she said. “I walk along the river collecting rocks, then I paint 10 or 12 every night while watching television.”
SMC Rocks can be found anywhere inside or outside of the facility.
“If you find a painted rock, take a picture of it and post it on the SMC Rocks Facebook page,” she explained. “Then hide it again so someone else can enjoy it.”
Just be careful to keep the fun safe. Do not hide rocks on fire alarms, on stairs, or on the floor where they could be considered a tripping hazard.
“Anyone can paint and hide rocks,” Heller said.
So, as you’re wandering the halls and grounds of SMC, be sure to keep your eyes open for a colorful, fun little piece of happiness disguised as a rock.