SOUTH HADLEY, Mass (WGGB) — Sunday marked the one year anniversary of well known South Hadley native Seth Machak’s death.
On that day, friends and family gathered for a fundraiser, and to celebrate acts of kindness done in Seth’s memory.
“Random Acts of Sethness” was dreamed up by Seth’s aunt, in the days just before he died of pneumonia at age 29.
It is intended to keep his giving spirit alive.
“He never expected anything in return. And I think that’s what everyone takes away from their relationship with him, is that it’s not about the glory, it’s about giving back to the people around you,” said Michael Chunyk, a friend of Seth’s.
Giving back is what an “Act of Sethness” is intended to do; it’s doing something like donating dog treats to an animal shelter, or clearing the snow off someone’s car.
People involved in the movement say the impact of Sethness has been tangible, and is still going strong, even a year later.
“Still to this day there’s people that come in and they’ll buy someone a cup of coffee and they’ll say it’s an Act of Sethness,” noted Brenda Houle, of Houle’s Family Restaurant.
Seth’s father says one of his friends even encountered an Act of Sethness all the way in Fairfax, Virginia.
“She gets up to the check out and, ugh, no coupons. This woman says here, take these. This is a Random Act of Sethness for this kid from Massachusetts who died, and I’m doing this as a Random Act of Sethness. My buddy’s jaw hits the floor,” said Mark Machak.
In addition to reminiscing, friends and family raised money Sunday to help the memory impaired, because working with the Alzheimer’s patients was Seth’s passion.
“You know people, but you don’t know people who are that gifted. It’s almost like he was born to do that,” Machak shared.
Cooks at Houle’s Family Restaurant, where Sunday’s event was held, said they went through 15 pounds of bacon. It was Seth’s favorite food.
The Houles say they got involved to honor Seth’s memory.
“He liked to come here, he loved bacon, so it all seemed like a good idea to do. I think here was a really good turnout today,” explained, Brenda Houle, owner of Houle’s Family Restaurant.
In all, there were about 100 people at today’s event, and they say they have come a long way in the past year.
“A year later, there’s a sense, at least for me, of peace and moving forward. Grief has morphed into gratitude of the time we had with Seth,” said Chunyk.
You can go to the Updates on Seth Machak Facebook page to view stories of “Random Acts of Sethness.”