Christmas Eve at Henderson tavern gives back to cause that ‘hit close to home’

Christmas Eve at Henderson tavern gives back to cause that ‘hit close to home’
Published: Dec. 24, 2022 at 10:37 PM CST
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HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) - Over 200 people spent most of their Christmas Eve at Metzger’s Tavern for their annual holiday event. Some people say they came for the free food, raffles and a half pot, but most said they came for the cause.

Christmas Eve at the Tavern chose the Lofton’s Law non-profit as the beneficiary of most of the money raised at their event. Lofton Hazelwood was a student at the University of Kentucky who was hazed as an initiation into a fraternity and later died. His family is fighting for him, one fundraiser at a time, and this Christmas they are looking to bring more awareness to the dangers of hazing.

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Preston Hazelwood, Lofton’s sister, says she’s confident her brother was looking down from heaven smiling at the work they are continuing to do in his honor.

”Our community has been amazing throughout this all, everyone has. It’s cool to go around and see Lofton’s law shirts and sweatshirts and everything,” said Preston. “I know my brother is smiling in heaven. So, it’s really awesome to see.”

The funds raised go toward the “Lofton’s Law” scholarship fund. Family says one scholarship goes to a student studying agriculture, and the other goes to a student in a trade school.

Dean Roethemeier is originally from Henderson, but says he now lives in Lexington. Roethemeier says he’s familiar with Lofton’s story.

“It’s a good thing that they’re fighting for and happy to be here celebrating with everybody but also contributing to that,” said Roethemeier.

Scott Wolfd says he attends Christmas at the Tavern often, and over the years his friends or family invited him out. Wolfd says coming to the event this year means more than spending time with loved ones, it’s about Lofton’s legacy too.

“My daughter was friends with Lofton, went to school with him, so it kind of hits home,” said Wolfd.

Lofton’s Law is more than a nonprofit, Preston says it’s also a law the Hazelwood family hopes will be passed state-wide. The law would make hazing a felony in Kentucky. Family says it could get passed at the upcoming January session.

Metzger’s Tavern management says they raised over $1,750 for Lofton’s Law.