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Parents Form LoriAnne Brazell Hutto Foundation in Daughter's Memory

By Anne Waits
web posted May 30, 2014

EDGEFIELD To say that LoriAnne Brazell Hutto had a big heart would be an understatement. "As a child, she was always bringing home stray animals," said her mother Karen Brazell. "We still have four dogs and two cats she brought in--she even found some in a box once. All her animals came from some pet rescue-type situation. She always felt sorry for the down and out."

As an adult, her heart not only went out to her four-legged friends who had been neglected or abused, but to people who were in need for some reason or another. "She loved to help people," said Mrs. Brazell. "Not long before her accident, she arranged for clothing and other items, as well as monetary donations, at the cosmetology school she attended for a family who had been burned out."

Mrs. Brazell, who worked for the Department of Social Services in Aiken, said Lori was always hearing of some family who needed help and whenever possible she jumped in to help.

Having lost three grandparents to cancer, she worked tirelessly for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.

Music was one of her greater loves She took dance and piano lessons as a child and played in her high school band. Additionally, she loved children, and worked with the smaller ones in Vacation Bible School at her church, Edgefield United Methodist. She looked forward to having her own children.

In recent years, she exercised religiously, along with her husband Eric, and had lost a total of 100 pounds.

"I was very proud of the way she was working to get herself healthy and she was doing an awesome job," Mrs. Brazell said. "She was diligent in what she believed in."
Along that line of thought, Karen and Robert (her father) Brazell, along with other family and friends, are working to establish a foundation in Lori's name.

At the young age of 23, Lori died June 4, 2012 from injuries sustained in a crash 14 days earlier with a Colonial Bread truck that was traveling south on Star Road in Edgefield. It was later determined that the bread truck veered over the center line at Parker Road, hitting Lori's SUV head-on. She was air-lifted to Georgia Regents University Trauma Unit but her body was unable to sustain the injuries, which included a severe head injury.

Between customers at Ole Edgefield Butcher Shop, Mr. and Mrs. Brazell talked about the things the foundation can do and how it can carry on the things Lori loved.

"It's still in the very early stages," said Mr. Brazell. "It's more Karen's idea, but I think it's a great way to not only carry on Lori's dreams and goals, but to give back in some way to the community who showed such an outpouring of love, compassion and support during the time of Lori's hospitalization and our loss."

Some of the things they have in mind already include purchasing or contributing to the cost of musical instruments for high school children who might not be able to afford them; possible cosmetology scholarships; and other projects in line with Lori's passion for cancer research, children's organizations, health and of course, animal rescue.

"We thought of making packets of personal items to hand out at the trauma unit," Mrs. Brazell said. "Families come and are there for long periods of time. Some can't afford them."

Funding would come from donations and a variety of fundraisers.

Mrs. Brazell said she is working to make the foundation a 501-3-c non-profit, whereby donations can be counted as tax deductions.

"We already had one fundraiser, a bake sale," she said. "I baked, and friends baked items."

This Saturday, May 31, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., a chicken dinner sale and bake sale will be held at the butcher shop. Chicken dinners are $7 a plate and include 1/2 chicken, baked beans, slaw and a roll. They are carry-out only.

"We thought of the possibility of some outdoor markets--household items and such," she said. "I would have to wait until the weather is cooler."

Jessica Perkins, a friend of Lori's, said she thinks the foundation is a very good idea. She came to know Lori about six years ago and the Brazells came to be her second family.

"She was very involved in the Edgefield area and she was into fitness a lot and making herself healthier," she said. "She tried very hard to better herself. She had a great personality and a big smile. She was like a sister to me."

Perkins said Lori always kept her animals when she went out of town.

"I trusted her with them," she said. "In fact, she stayed at my house and kept my pets the weekend before the accident. Lori tried to make the world a better place. I helped with the bake sale and I will continue to help with the foundation and to carry on what Lori started."

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