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New book could help find hidden treasures near Sioux Falls

Published: May. 24, 2022 at 10:26 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -A Sioux Falls local found herself venturing out of the area to 51 different communities within an hour of the city.

She says the experience gave her hope that she wants to share with others in a book she wrote.

COVID-19 has impacted many of us. whether that be physically or mentally.

Lonnette Kelley traveled to 51 different communities near Sioux Falls in search of finding answers during an uncertain time.

“We were out looking for a purpose in life and we were looking for some type of joy because it was such a difficult time during the pandemic. So that was our goal was to just escape isolation, to get in the car, roll down the windows and feel freedom again,” said book author, Lonnette Kelley.

She was a nurse for 55 years prior to the pandemic but had to step down due to health concerns.

She said these communities gave her hope during an uncertain time.

“What I found was I had been in many of these communities numerous times over the years. I thought I knew them but when I finally went in and started taking these drives, I had no idea of all the surprises and secrets in these towns,” said Kelley.

Overwhelmed with love for these treasures, Lonnete decided to give back to each of the 51 communities with a red wooden heart for them to place in a specific area. in each community.

“They will actually be placing the heart where the community would like to have it, they can put it on a building front, they can put it at a historical area, they can put it on a fence post of tree, but somewhere they want to draw the public in to see,” said Kelley.

Mayor of Salem, Shawn Ace English says this means a lot to him and his community while dealing with devastation from the storm damage.

“We had a lot of damage, no loss of life thanks goodness, but Ya it gives people hope to find a heart in different places and know that there is hope there,” said Salem mayor, Shawn Ace English.

Having this experience, Lonnette began to put her thoughts into words that transformed them into a book she is calling “Joy in the Heartland”

The book follows her experience in finding beauty in the little things outside of Sioux Falls. She maps out the 51 different communities she visited and where you can find the red heart in each area.

She hopes the book will give people hope and a way to get out and explore what is around them.

“Find a way, step aside from the busyness and the distractions and take a moment to look for something different and I think they will be surprised at what they find,” said Kelley.

Above all she wants to spread love to a sometimes-hurting nation.

“Hopefully will radiate love to a nation that’s hurting right now,” said Kelley.

Lonnette is excited to share her story and inspire people to travel outside of the city in search of beauty within different communities.

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