God Picked This Flower
Barry and I received a phone call this week that we knew would come one day. However, no one is ever truly prepared. God picked this flower and took her home to be with Him forever.
Let me introduce you to Violet Hazelwood. A long time supporter of Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs. Barry and I will miss her dearly along with her jovial laugh, quick wit, and her very talented fingers.
Now in her 95th year, she has gone to stand before her Lord and to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Barry and I first met Violet Hazelwood in 2009. She was in the process of downsizing furniture and the such as she was moving herself and her adult handicapped daughter into the local nursing home. She and other members of her family had contacted Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs to donate a wide variety of household items that she would no longer be needing. A local real estate man, David Reid, had put her in contact with us.
Since that initial time in 2009 we have had a developing relationship with both Violet and her other daughter, son-in-law, and even grand and great-grandchildren. Even though they live several hours away in other parts of the province, they always made sure to come to see Violet while having a truckload of donations for Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs.
As Violet learned more about our ministry in the community, we suddenly would receive phone calls from her every couple of weeks. Barry and I would go to visit her and she would greet us with several grocery shopping bags stuffed full of items.
We quickly discovered that God had given her a talent for knitting, and through Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs, even though now in a nursing home, she could still use that talent to His Glory.
A Child’s Favorite Past Time
For many years, Violet was our first and our only knitting volunteer. She literally was knitting hundreds of sets of items for us. Her knitting talents ranged from:
- baby outfits
- toddler sweaters
- and even dish cloths
Not only, as a fellow knitter, was I impressed with her knitting tension, but her speed. Like I mentioned, she would call us every couple of weeks to pick up items. Generally she would have enough items for a dozen children or more each time.
As Barry and I would comment on how busy she had been, she would just laugh with that big laugh of hers. You know the kind, that laugh that starts in the toes and comes out at the top. She was a very happy woman indeed.
Her favorite comment was, “Don’t you know that a child’s favorite past time is losing their mitts? But, how can they lose those mitts if they don’t have any to begin with.” Which she always followed up with that beautiful hearty laugh.
Community Recognized In 2014
In 2014, Barry and I were able to have her publicly recognized for her incredible efforts. Every two years there is a Community Spirit Awards in our Town. An event meant to recognize those hidden gems, such as Violet in our community.
Here is an excerpt from the nomination form that we submitted:
“….now 91 and is not actively seen in the community since her stay at Leisureworld, but her presence is well known within Free Stuff for Daily Needs and the families they assist.
On any given day you can walk down the 2nd floor hallway of Leisureworld and just inside her bedroom door you will find her quietly knitting up her latest creation. Within days she can fill a plastic shopping bag full of her knitted goods.
She has been knitting since she was 6, and she loves to knit items to give away and she is excited to know that the items she’s been knitting in recent years are staying within the Muskoka/Parry Sound region and helping kids and families right here. For several years at our Annual Christmas Giveaway, her hand-knitted items are always amongst the first things to find new homes. People now come yearly looking for them.
She is a very dedicated, diligent knitter, and if she’s not knitting it is only because she’s laid down on her bed for a very well-deserved nap.She may not be able to get out into her community, but she is still devoted to assisting them with a knitted “hand”.
She’s the little hidden gem that needs to be recognized.”
A Visit From The Mayor
With Violet being unable to go to the big public awards ceremony, the Mayor and a few select people brought an award ceremony to her. Working in cooperation with the nursing home there was a party held for Violet.
There was cake, Mayor Paisley Donaldson, and Chairman Gord Durnan of the Community Spirit Awards and a placque presentation.
When we next saw Violet, she was still excited and beaming from ear to ear. We were not notified, so we were not in attendance. But you can see in this photo, that twinkle in her face that we lovingly remember.
But we are glad that we took that time to nominate this very worthy woman for this award. Although tucked inside a nursing home, she did not let that stop herself. She continued to be a positive witness of God and impact on her local community. And to have that community recognize her meant a lot to her. She proudly displayed that award on her wall.
Gone But Not Forgotten
So although God has taken her home to be with Him, we will miss her and definitely not forget her.
Barry and I saw her just this past spring, and gathered up the last knitted donations that she had for us. We knew in our spirits then that her health was declining. So, although we knew this phone call would come, you are still never truly prepared.
Goodbye for now Violet, however, we will meet again. Maybe I’ll be able to sit beside you and we can knit together.
In the meantime, we have a few last items Violet has created for us to hand out at this 2017 Christmas Giveaway event. Although gone, her creations are everywhere throughout our region helping to keep children warm in the winter months.
Thank you Violet, it has been an honor and a privilege to have known you these past 8 years.