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Capturing the Beauty of Rural Life: A Glimpse into the Photo Contest Winners

As Memorial Hospital completes renovations throughout the hospital, connection with the rural community is a theme carried throughout the new spaces. Last year, Memorial held a photo contest looking for images that capture the beauty of rural life. Photos from three talented individuals have been selected for display in the new out patient Specialty Clinic at the hospital.

Emily Waeltz with yellow sunflower photo

Emily Waeltz from Marissa, IL had two photos selected for display in the waiting room of the new clinic. Her photos capture the beauty of sunflowers in the corner of her yard on her farm during a summer sunset. The bright yellow and deep red flowers beautifully fill the space with vibrant colors and brilliance. Emily has a passion for rural life and is blessed to be raising the fourth generation of farmers to care for their family's land. "I love taking photos of the fields, crops, tractors and everyday farm life to share with others who are not as

luck to live in the country," says Emily.

"Sunset time is my favorite time of the day. I'm always chasing sunsets!"

Emily's photographs have also graced the cover of the 2023 St. Clair County Farm Bureau's plat book.

Brantley Hamilton

Brantley Hamilton of Rockwood, IL had one of his photos selected for the new space. His family raises cattle and truly loves caring for the animals. During an evening ride the dust settled behind one of the family's bulls on their farm, and the sunset illuminated the scene perfectly. He used the photo as part of his collection for a 4-H contest as well. Brantley loves the freedom that comes with living in the country and that his family is able to do so much.

Mallorie Homan of Chester, IL had two photos selected. Her entries of a bee resting on a yellow sunflower and a fall rock road draped in golden leaves, added to the brilliance of the collection the department choose.

Mallorie took her sunflower picture at Alto Pass.

"My love for sunflowers stated when I brought home a small plan in preschool."

"I have had sunflowers at my grandma and grandpa's house several times. It's amazing how tall they can grow." Mallorie enjoys rural life because she loves animals, seeing the crops in the fields for miles, and seeing the changing of the seasons.

Each of these winning photographs tells a unique story of rural life, capturing moments of beauty and tranquility that resonate with viewers. Through their lens, these talented photographers have opened a window into the heart of Southern Illinois, inviting us to pause and appreciate the simple pleasures that surround us.

At Memorial Hospital of Chester, these images will serve as a source of solace and inspiration for patients and visitors. In a space that can often feel overwhelming, the familiar sights of rural landscapes bring a sense of familiarity and peace, creating a comforting environment for all who walk through our doors.

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