‘A beautiful testament.’ Prayer service honors student involved in deadly fraternity incident


UK students pray the rosary during a prayer service in memory of Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, at the Catholic Newman Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Rayleigh Deaton

On Tuesday night, UK students gathered at the Catholic Newman Center for a prayer service in memory of Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood.

Hazelwood, an 18-year-old student from Henderson, Kentucky, died Monday night after being found unresponsive in the FarmHouse Fraternity house, according a statement from the University.

Brian Gall, a missionary with the Newman Center, said Hazelwood had “come around” the center, and several of the students in attendance knew him personally. Gall said the prayer service had been organized by students, some of whom had never met Hazelwood.

“I think the beautiful thing about it is we just started out by telling a couple people, and then we had people in groups coming in,” Gall said. “There are a lot of great people here in a good place.”

At 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Gall welcomed the assembled students and staff of the Newman Center, thanking them for coming.

“[It’s a] very difficult time for Lofton, his family and FarmHouse Fraternity,” he said.

The group prayed for Hazelwood, his family, FarmHouse and anyone impacted by the incident. Several individuals led the prayer as they prayed the rosary. 

Although Gall said he did not know Hazelwood personally, several students who attended the Newman Center were also from Henderson and knew him.

“I’ve only heard amazing things [about Hazelwood],” he said.

Gall said that he hoped the service helped to show people that they are not alone, bringing them together in conversation.

“I find that people from all over the place just want to participate in prayer in this moment, which I think is a beautiful testament to this community,” he said.

On Thursday at 6 p.m., the Catholic Newman Center and FarmHouse Fraternity will cohost a prayer service in Hazelwood’s memory, with a special mass being held for him at 7:30 p.m.