It seems like these days there’s a social media campaign for just about everything, but there’s not a more touching network movement than EC Angel Rocks.
It started as a way to honor and remember those who’ve been lost in the Wade and Hurley communities and neighborhoods in northern Jackson County. It’s now grown into a keystone social media sensation that turns sorrow into a celebration of life, thanks to Annette Meek.
“This small community has suffered so much heartache, so much loss, tragic loss, recently,” Meek said. “I wanted to see if I could find a way to start to heal some of that hurt. I just wanted to try and find a way to bring some of the joy back, some comfort, and a place to begin healing to those that have lost loved ones.”
She brainstormed ways to offer comfort to two families who lost loved ones last year, and in December, she painted each family a commemorative rock with original artwork depicting them as angels and the loved ones’ names. She then hid the rocks in a place close to each of the families’ hearts and sent them each a text message and a photo with a clue about where to find them.
“I’ve talked to so many that have said one of their biggest fears is that their loved one will be forgotten,” she said. “In the picture, there’s a clue to where they are because I want them to be found. When a person finds it, they’re thinking about that person.”
Before the end of 2022, Meek created a Facebook page and the social media movement took flight. Those two painted rocks turned into hundreds in a matter of days and she currently has more than 2,000 followers and growing.
“Since starting this just a little over a month ago I’ve seen it bring smiles and laughter back through comments being posted on Facebook,” she said. “It’s become a platform for people to share about their loved ones. It’s a place where they are being talked about again, and remembered by family, friends, and classmates. I’ve seen God move in some amazing ways as He is healing families and our community one rock at a time.”
In no time the Angel Rock concept erupted throughout the community and she quickly gained volunteers to help paint and hide the rocks.
“It started with me painting about 20 or so and go hide them around the community with a big clue because we want them to be found,” she said. “But it quickly exploded. I had some women that had lost loved ones of their own volunteer to help me hide them. I gave a bunch to them and they loved it. Painting and hiding these Angel Rocks is a small way to make sure they are remembered both by the ones painting the rocks and the ones finding them,”
Local families now spend weekends on EC Angel Rock hunting adventures and when they find one, they move the rock uptown, downtown, and all around town. When a rock is discovered, community members post it on the EC Angel Rock page and ask for details about the person’s life. They even ask for recommendations about where to leave it for the next person to find. The concept has created a massive community healing movement.
“There are other people painting rocks and hiding them as well,” Meek said. “I know of a couple of Christmas get-togethers that consisted of rock painting. I know of one fellow that died in a wreck a couple of years back who always wanted to go to New York for Christmas, and I saw where they went and took Collin with them. His rock is in every picture with them. There are just so many cool stories like that on our Facebook page.”
And Meek has no plans to stop painting these heavenly rocks anytime soon.
“I literally get about 20 names a day to add to the list, because everyone wants their loved one remembered,” she said. “That’s what I intend to do.”