ST. GEORGE — A Washington City woman decorated her front yard with handmade paper hearts the day after Inauguration Day and distributed them to friends and neighbors to spread the love during this challenging time.
Tari Brocklebank has distributed 250 hearts over social media and in person. Neighbors who walk past her yard in the Green Springs neighborhood of Washington City can take a heart to set up in their own yard. People from across Southern Utah and as far away as Germany have inquired about how they could get a heart. With the coronavirus pandemic and the turmoil of the election, Brocklebank said there has been so much negativity and she wanted to spread the love one heart at a time.
“When I go through my neighborhood and I see hearts, it touches my heart to know that we still have love for one another even with the face masks or be it with six feet social distancing,” Brocklebank told St. George News. “This was not a political move. It was just a chance to spread love.”
Brocklebank is ordering supplies to make more hearts for her neighbors, but anyone can make a heart and continue to spread the love wherever they live. Shelley Stevens, a friend of Brocklebank’s, shared the project on her private Facebook group where women can share ways to care for one another. More than 200 people liked the post and asked how they could participate.
“I think it’s just awesome how things like this have extended to other parts of the world,” Stevens said. “I find for me personally, we’re so isolated here because of COVID, and it’s so nice to be able to get up and go for a walk and see these hearts. It makes me feel not so alone.”
The hearts are very simple to make, Stevens said. All you need is some thin, red corrugated cardboard and two pieces of wire to stick into the ground.
“Anybody can make them and I think it would be awesome to see everybody in St. George and Hurricane make these,” Stevens said.
When Brocklebank first started making the hearts, it was only intended to be a neighborhood project. Her husband John Brocklebank told St. George News that it has blown up since then. Some people have mistakenly thought the hearts were made as a political movement, he said, but his wife’s intentions were always good and that’s just the kind of person she is.
“All she intended to do is instead of all this turmoil and hatred she just wanted to flip it over and spread the love their way,” he said. “Most people might be uncomfortable. She’s always like getting in their face and spreading joy… She is a special kind of person and I count my blessings every day.”
He added that it’s funny how quick people are to argue with each other, but the idea of spreading love can make them uncomfortable. Many people have stopped by the yard and told the Brocklebanks it’s a great idea.
Melissa Ryther, a friend of Brocklebank’s who lives just a few streets away, said the hearts make her happy and remind her what she has in common with everyone else in the neighborhood.
“A lot of us are new to the area. There’s a lot of people that have never lived in Southern Utah before and any way we can find something we all have in common, which is a love for our neighborhood,” Ryther said. “A lot of people have told me they moved to St. George because they think it’s a special place and I think Tari is a great example of why it’s a special place.”
Karen Westfall, a longtime friend of Brocklebank’s, said that Brocklebank is a true giver and the project was her way of bringing the true meaning of Valentine’s Day to her neighbors.
“I just think especially considering what we’re going through this past year, it’s important to look at relationships and not forget this is a good time of year to reach out to those we haven’t and share love and kindness,” Westfall said.
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