Randi Acts of Kindness

f6e0b430-70b4-4485-91f5-cd992c2bdbefYesterday, it was standing room only at the Southwick-Good & Fortkamp Funeral Chapel in Clintonville. The lines queuing up outside for nearly an hour had snaked into every possible entrance. Many wore purple, signifying the deceased’s enthusiasm for her alma mater, Mount Union College. And nearly everyone took a moment to dab their eyes for a woman who they said at some time or place in their lives had made them feel welcome. She did that for me.

I first got to know Randi Hirschauer during a brief stint working at the Ohio Division of Securities. She was standing in the tiny employee kitchen, surrounded by dozens of suspicious containers she’d just pulled from the employee refrigerator. Like many offices, ours was less than vigilant about cleaning out the communal fridge. Until the foul aromas wafted up, the offending items simply got shoved to the back.

Randi was having none of it. She’d posted a sign with a date certain for disposal, and it was on the day following this date that I met her – fearlessly dumping the unsavory contents into a garbage bag. Like Tom Sawyer, she made it seem fun, and before I knew it, we were engaged in a lively collaboration that involved my wiping down the refrigerator shelves.

Yesterday, as family and friends rose, one by one, to salute her, one common theme emerged. This was a fun-loving woman who concerned herself with the comfort of others before herself and who reached out to make others feel welcome. Neighbors credited Randi with fostering the community on their street. I saw her do it at work. At a time when electronic communication seems to trump real human contact, we can learn a lot from her.

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