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St. Mary’s ‘love rocks’ initiative spreads to Calvert

By LAURA BUCKStaff Writer

What might initially appear to be a toy or piece of artwork that someone accidentally dropped is actually exactly where it’s supposed to be no matter where it is.

That is what Lexington Park resident John Busby says about his “Love Rocks” a project in which he has embarked by leaving rocks painted with happy images in public places.

Busby, 48, said he always enjoyed giving hand-painted rocks to friends as presents.

In early March, Busby said he got the idea to leave the rocks in public places and he started with Leonardtown Square.

“There are so many things to be angry about these days and stressed out about and I thought ‘why don’t I make something that people can walk by and smile,’” he said.

Busby continued this mission by painting a rock to look like the Staples “Easy Button” but instead made it say “Love” with “Press Here For Happiness” written on an arrow.

Busby said he left the rock in the display case at the Staples in California, Md.

What was done with the rock, Busby doesn’t know.

“It doesn’t matter if someone takes them because wherever the rock goes, that’s where the love goes,” he said. “I like the idea of leaving them in stores because they’ll be seen better.”

Busby recently spread his mission to Calvert County when he donated three rocks to the 12th Annual Empty Bowl Supper and Silent Auction for Project ECHO, held March 24 at St. John Vianney Family Life Center in Prince Frederick.

Project ECHO Executive Director Trisha Gipson said the rocks Busby donated which contain a lighthouse, fish and a “sea-monster” were put in a silent auction package containing Disney World tickets.

Gipson said the idea was that whichever family won the tickets could “plant” the Love Rocks at Disney World.

“It’s just something fun ... You want to say ‘remember that year we went to Disney and left those rocks? I wonder where they are,’” Gipson said.

Gipson said that auction package went for at least $500.

“They were all unique and gorgeous,” Gipson said of the rocks. “If you were to find one of the rocks the rock would definitely make you smile.”

Rather than trying to trademark the Love Rocks, which Busby said friends have suggested, Busby said he is actually trying to encourage others to paint their own.

To spread the word Busby said he has created a “Love Rocks Around the World” event page on Facebook and a YouTube video with the same title.

He said he is also planning to teach the rock painting to students at The Chesapeake Public Charter School in Lexington Park, which his 12-year-old son Noah attends.

Busby said he would never charge someone for one of the rocks and hopes others wouldn’t either.

“We’ve got to give this love away for free,” he said. “... I would like this to stretch all the way across the world; there’s too much stress out there all the time.”

lbuck@somdnews.com