'Huggin' Hazel' brings love to central Georgia

She's been a nurse for close to seventy years and still sees patients in central Georgia today.

She's an unsung hero at home who's a perfect example of you're only as old as you feel.

"This is Hazel." Hazel Colson answers her cellphone.

Meet Hazel. "I'm 86, I'll be 87 in February," says Colson.

She visits around ten hospice patients a day, five days a week.

"You have a good night? Okay good. You sleep good? Okay I'm going to check your blood pressure," Colson says to one of her patients.

She started her career as a member of the Army Cadet Nurse Corps in January of 1945.

"The war is what helped me get my nurse's training," says Colson. World War II ended less than a year after she signed up, but Colson didn't stop.

"We moved here in '52. I helped open the first real clinic in '54," says Colson.

Colson was a pediatric nurse for several years and has been with Heart of Georgia Hospice for the last 28.

She begins each day with a prayer: "God gave me the gift and ability to do what I do."

And she has a nickname in town.

"Huggin' Hazel and she is a huggin' Hazel to everybody," says Pam Barnard.

Fellow employee Tyler Bryant says, "We often say she's the 'Mother Teresa' of Warner Robins, because she just touches so many people with her warm spirit and her love for others."

Colson replies, "Everyone needs a hug once in a while."

"She walks in everyday smiling with a hug and says 'Honey I love ya' and you can say, 'How are you today, Mrs. Hazel?' and she'll say, 'Honey, I'm blessed to get up and serve someone else today'." says Barnard.

Bryant says, "We all want to strive to be like Mrs. Hazel because she is the definition of a hero, someone you respect, admire and love."

And as far as retiring is concerned, Colson says , "What do you do when you retire? When I do stop this, I'll still be helping others. That's my life. Work is not work to me. It's a joy to be able to do it. I see it as what can I do to help them feel better, keep them comfortable and give them the good care."


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