Random acts of kindness honor couple killed in crash

Published: Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 5:30 a.m.CDT
Caption
(Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)
Tamara Getzelman smiles as she listens to Justin Stafford (not pictured)describe Timothy Getzelman during a dedication ceremony July 15 honoring Timothy Getzelman and Alexi Weber at the Sycamore Fire Department Fire Station No. 2.

Dawn Weber had pizzas delivered to Sycamore’s fire stations Friday night for the shifts on duty when her daughter and boyfriend were killed in a crash two years ago.

It was among the random acts of kindness she performed this week in honor of Timothy Getzelman’s and Lexi Weber’s memory. The pair were both 21 years old when they were killed Feb. 21, 2011, at the intersection of Peace Road and North Main Street. A vehicle driven by Patricia L. Schmidt of Sycamore collided with Getzelman’s vehicle; witnesses said Getzelman had the right of way.

Getzelman was from Sycamore, Weber from Maple Park.

Instead of hosting a blood drive, as they did on the first anniversary of the couple’s death, Dawn Weber and Tamara Getzelman, Timothy’s mom, reached out to their family and friends – and complete strangers on Facebook. They asked them to do something nice for someone else in their children’s memories.

With help from Dawn Weber’s niece, Meghan Dienst, they created a Facebook event and watched Thursday as one person after another admitted to committing random acts of kindness.

“It helped us a lot,” Tamara Getzelman said. “I really enjoyed reading all the posts. I’ve had people text me today and say, ‘I did this today. I feel so good.’ ”

The anniversary was tinged with sadness, not only because of the unexpected loss of their children, but because criminal charges against Schmidt remain pending, with a trial scheduled to start Sept. 30.

Schmidt, 48, is charged with reckless homicide, aggravated reckless driving and aggravated driving under the influence of drugs. An analysis of Schmidt’s blood by the Illinois State Police crime lab showed the presence of multiple prescription drugs, including the anti-anxiety drugs lorazepam and phenobarbital, the sedative mephobarbital, and three others at the time of the accident, authorities have said.

The lingering court case extends the grieving process, sometimes leaving Getzelman weary at the end of an emotionally trying day. Thoughts of her son tend to come around 5:05 p.m., the last time she talked on the phone with him. It was about 25 minutes before the crash.

Some of her friends have told her they don’t know what to say to take away her pain, but she’s grateful for her faith in God and the support her family and the Webers have received from the community.

“Our lives have totally changed,” Getzelman said. “We’re trying to acclimate to this new way of being. It’s really hard. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like your life.”

The families attend court for Schmidt’s routine status hearings, but Getzelman knows watching the trial will be more stressful. The trial is scheduled to start just weeks before Getzelman’s daughter is to be married in November.

Although Timothy Getzelman and Lexi Weber weren’t engaged, their family and friends expected they, too, would be planning a wedding eventually.

“I wonder what they would be doing right now,” Tamara Getzelman said. “You think about all those things. It was a privilege and honor to be those kids’ parents.”

For her random act of kindness, Tamara Getzelman took donuts to Sycamore firefighters Thursday. Dawn Weber, aside from making pizza delivery plans, also bought chair massages for several coworkers Friday.

Some people left comments promising to perform their random acts of kindness this weekend.

As she read the posts, Tamara Getzelman figured Tim and Lexi would have loved the idea.

“They would be getting everyone fired up,” she said. “They would be out there.”

The Facebook event page is available at shawurl.com/isq.

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