Smiling suns wish Del Rae well

Facebook has blossomed with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of tiny smiling sun emojis – a tribute and gesture of support for former Moorhead mayor Del Rae Williams.

Williams, who completed her term in 2018, suffered a stroke on Wednesday, Sept. 14. She is recovering in the rehabilitation unit at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo.

“It was her 64th birthday,” husband Ron Williams says. “She was making a presentation at a meeting that afternoon, and then we were meeting to celebrate the occasion with dinner at the Thai Orchid.”

Instead, as she was heading for the front door, Ron heard her calling his name. He found her sprawled on the floor. “She couldn’t get up or move her right arm or leg, and her speech was slurred,” he says. He called an ambulance. She was quickly stabilized and taken to Sanford, where she spent five days. She started an estimated three weeks of rehabilitation – physical, occupational and speech therapy – Monday.

Though the former mayor cannot easily speak and does not want visitors at this time, her husband said text messages and calls of support were quick to pour in to him. That’s when her friend Mara Morken stepped in on Facebook to send Del Rae encouragement for her recovery.

“Del Rae has used a happy little sun for her profile picture for as long as I’ve known her,” she wrote. “It’s become a part of how we view her as a friend and neighbor.

“If you’d like, go ahead and change your profile pic temporarily to a happy little sun — so when she logs back into FB again, she can see us all smiling back in support of her recovery. It’s a small thing, really. But she has done a thousand things (small and big) which impact our entire community.”

Smiling sun emojis have been flooding the social medium ever since. While the former mayor can do little more than click “like” at this point, her husband reports, it’s working.

“She is seeing the suns,” he confirms, “and she loves them.”

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