Posted on 14 August 2014.
By Judy Reed
Scotty Hazel, a teacher at Cedar Springs for 20 years, was loved by his students for his encouraging, selfless, and giving attitude. That legacy has lived on, even after his death last month from cancer.
Soon after his death in July, a Facebook page was created called “Random Acts of Hazel.” The intent is to honor Hazel by performing random acts of kindness and dedicating them to him. The page already has over 3100 members, and countless acts of kindness have been chronicled there. They even have t-shirts for sale that will benefit the Hazel children’s college fund.
One Cedar Springs grad honored Hazel last weekend by creating a beautiful tree with chalk art. One of Hazel’s poems, Remember Me, is written in the tree. Justin Balczak, a 2011 graduate, spent 12 hours bringing the tree to life on the side of the Edward Jones business in the strip mall on 17 Mile. You can see the whole process on YouTube by going to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJahTq0ceFA.
The random acts of kindness that people have performed are reaching everywhere. Some of the messages on the page are being left by people who experienced a Random Act of Hazel.
One woman wrote: “Today in Versailles, Kentucky my Dad and I were the recipients of a Random Act of Hazel in a drive thru Starbucks line. To the man in the silver truck who bought our coffee…thank you. Not so much for the coffee but for the adventure of finding out about Hazel, for finding this group, and for inspiring the acts of Hazel we hope to pass along. What a great man he must have been. My Dad, who is 85, said…now that is a legacy I would like to leave behind.”
A woman from Wisconsin said they were visiting their favorite Farmers Market in Muskegon, when a cute little boy held a beautiful bouquet of flowers out to her. “His mom said that he wanted me to have the flowers. I was so touched and could not believe it. Then he handed me a note that explained Random acts of Hazel! What a blessing! We are from Wisconsin and were leaving the next day so I decided to gift the flowers to someone else. A wonderful young couple with small children were walking toward us and I decided this mom might really enjoy the flowers as much as I did so I gave them to her. I explained about the little boy and gave her the note. She was thrilled as I was and said I made her day! What a wonderful feeling! Thank you Random Acts of Hazel! You are now expanding to Wisconsin!”
Another woman wrote that she was buying groceries in Grandville, and had left her debit card at home. The woman behind her told her she wanted to pay for her groceries, as a Random Act of Hazel.
A family from Holland, Michigan heard about Random Acts of Hazel and decided to come to Cedar Springs after church Sunday to see the chalk art tree. They spent time in both Cedar Springs and Rockford, picked up some RAH t-shirts, a copy of Hazel’s book, and then performed some Random Acts of Hazel in Grand Rapids. “It was lots of fun to pop quarters in candy machines to give others a free turn, play some arcade games and then give the tickets to a young boy to turn in, and tip our servers a little extra and tell them we greatly appreciated their service. It will be fun to continue to think of ways to bring a smile to the faces of others. I’m looking forward to reading his book and seeing more about the kind of man he was to leave such a legacy behind,” she said.
T-shirts with encouraging sayings from Scotty Hazel can be bought at Main Street Restaurant in Cedar Springs, and Aunt Candy’s Toy Company in Rockford.
To read more about the Random Acts of Hazel being performed, search for Random Acts of Hazel on Facebook.