Medical professionals ‘rock it’ in eyes of area artist

McGregor summer resident Sandy Engel painted rocks to be distributed in Payson, Ariz., to help cheer up medical professionals in the area.  She is now trying to do the same in the McGregor area.

Sandy Engel, a summer McGregor resident who winters in Arizona, created a special gift to help shine a little positive light for the health care workers in Payson, Ariz.

She painted rocks for the staff to hide, find or keep.

When Engel returned to Minnesota last spring, she was searching for a local rock painting group online when she discovered the McGregor Area Rocks (#MAR) group.

She had been involved in a rock painting group in Arizona and wanted to continue when she returned to Minnesota. Local resident Tori Fredrickson had started the rock painting and hiding group on Facebook in 2018.

Engel joined the MAR group and others quickly followed suit with the group quickly growing from 50 members to 545.

A fellow rock painting enthusiast from the McGregor area, Cynthia Douglas, recently sent Engel some rock painting ideas she had found online to honor the heroic efforts of health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Engel decided to spread some joy to those working tirelessly to help others by sharing some of her intricately painted rocks.

“Pinterest is also full of rock painting ideas and is my best friend,” said Engel when describing some of the inspiration for her healthcare-related rocks. “I am planning to hide some rocks outside the local Payson hospital and clinics.

 “A number will be given directly to an emergency room nurse who will handle distributing them to our amazingly brave medical staff,” Engel added.

Engel said she also painted a special rock for a local resident by request.

“Angel is a young man in Payson who has worn a mask for many years due to severe asthma and a low immune system,” explained Engel. “His mother saw my FaceBook post picturing my painted rocks and contacted me to ask if I would paint a special rock for Angel.

“She requested a face resembling him wearing a black mask,” she added. “Of course, I said yes.”

While Engel and her husband had planned to return to Minnesota in early May, she said due to COVID-19, their travel plans are fluid and uncertain.

Upon returning, she says she definitely plans to paint more of the medically-themed rocks to distribute within the McGregor community.

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