EKY woman reflects on the lives she impacted during a nearly 50 year career

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 3:54 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Many people in Hazard and surrounding counties know the name Hazel Robinson who worked at Custom Cleaners in Hazard for nearly 50 years and recently retired.

“The first day I came into work I was scared to death. All the noise and all the clothes, but of course as I walked off my porch that day my father said, Hazel you do those clothes like you do at home and you will never have any problem. That is exactly what I have done,” said Robinson.

As Robinson reflects on the nearly 50 years, she spent working at Custom Cleaners she said shortly after her first day that dry-cleaning job turned into a beautiful career.

“Doing people’s clothes, it was like a pleasure to me. I was making something look good for somebody you know, and if people came by and needed something I tried to do it for them that day if I could. If they needed it you know,” she said.

As Hazel looks back on the years, she said she knows it was all part of God’s plan.

“I look back on my life the day I came through the doors, I can still remember but I look back on that and I can see what a future God had for me in drycleaning,” she said.

A future of not just cleaning clothes but restoring hearts.

“One time it was about 6 o’clock and this elderly man he ran in he said I’m so mean,” she said. “So, finally I told him about how I’d been to church and had a wonderful time and he said I used to be saved. I said well the Lord will save you again. He talked for a little bit, and he started out the door. I never will forget, and he said little girl don’t you ever change from what you are, and I said I won’t,” she said.

A few months later she said the man came back by and told her he was saved. Time and time again Hazel Robinson has shared her love for the Lord with customers.

“We had people that would call and want prayer that day so we would hold hands and pray,” she said. “So, this job was more than just the work. It was a work that God had me here to do, I think.”

Now that Hazel has stepped away from that nearly 50-year long career she said she thanks the people.

“I will miss them greatly and they will always be in my thoughts and prayers, and I will never never forget you. You have been so good to me, my customers have,” she added.

As she moves forward, she said that one of her favorite songs reminds her that the best is yet to come.

“He’ll show me to my mansion and say this is your home, but I have a feeling in my heart the best is yet to come,” she said.

In 2017, the road Custom Cleaners is on was named after Hazel, Hazel D. Johnson Way. She said she could not believe so many people came together to make that happen.