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Local Column

Duchnowski: Sharing kindness in Tim’s and Lexi’s memory

Julie Kron has her Friday planned.

She took the day off work to pay for strangers’ orders at Starbucks, pass out care packages to the homeless and commit any other good deed that comes to mind.

She’s even prepared little packages of dog food and treats for the homeless people’s dogs.

“I’m just going to go with the flow,” Kron said. “I’ve been saving my money since Christmas. I’ve been putting some aside each paycheck so I could just go for it.”

Kron, a former Cortland resident who lives in Hawaii, is participating in the Second Annual Random Act of Kindness Day in honor of Lexi Weber and Tim Getzelman, a 21-year-old couple who died in a car crash Feb. 21, 2011. Getzelman was a Sycamore High School graduate, while Weber was a Kaneland High School graduate.

Organizers are encouraging everyone to participate, even if they didn’t know the couple, and to post about their good deeds in a Facebook group called “In loving memory of Tim & Lexi.” The third anniversary of the crash falls in the middle of a criminal trial for Patricia Schmidt, who is accused of reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving. The trial will continue March 3.

Kron remembers learning about their deaths through a Facebook message. Within minutes, her mother and brother were calling her in Hawaii to tell her what they knew, and Kron sent comforting thoughts to Tammy Getzelman, Tim’s mother, on Facebook. She couldn’t make it back for the funeral, so she sent flowers and cards.

“They were such outgoing, caring, loving people,” said Kron, who was childhood friends with Tim’s father but never got to meet Lexi.

She doesn’t say that lightly. Weber wanted to become a teacher and supported Feed ‘Em Soup, a nonprofit organization that has a children’s section called Lexi’s Corner in her honor. Getzelman earned his basic EMT license and was hired as an intern by the Sycamore Fire Department in September 2008.

Last year, Weber’s mom had pizzas delivered to the Sycamore fire stations for the crews that were on duty during the crash. You don’t have to spend tons of money to participate, however. You could leave change in a vending machine, leave a larger-than-normal tip, share coupons or share a note of appreciation with your child’s teacher (or a co-worker, neighbor, a friend you haven’t talked with in awhile, etc.)

In the Facebook group, participants can download tags explaining the project and attach the tags to their gifts; we’ll also post them at

It’s such a simple gesture, doing something nice for someone else, but I bet the busier or the more stressed the receiver, the happier they will be that you took the time to be random and kind. I hope some of those “victims” of random acts of kindness post messages in the Facebook group.

It would be nice to see just how far – beside Hawaii – this effort spreads.

• Jillian Duchnowski is the Daily Chronicle’s news editor. Reach her at 815-756-4841, ext. 2221, or email

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