HAZEL GREEN, Ala. (WHNT) - When you're struggling through a major personal crisis, it can be hard to keep it together.
But an act of kindness can make the struggle a little bit easier.
For Hazel Green High School student Alyssa Puff, it was a teacher who reached out, after spotting her looking downcast.
"He [took] the time to ask me, 'How's your mom doing? Is there anything I can do for her? Do you want me to pray hard for her today?'" Puff said, recalling Galen Euting's questions.
Euting, a social studies and history teacher at Hazel Green, had heard Puff's story. She'd been in a car wreck back in 2012 with her mom and, ever since then, her family had been dealing with surgery after surgery. Her mom alone has had up 20 operations.
Euting thought he might be able to brighten Puff's day, so he took the time to talk with her. He then continued to do so on multiple occasions, as she served as his fourth block teacher's aide.
"[He asked] me every day, 'Hey, are you doin' alright? How's your mom doing? How's life going, are you alright today?" Puff said, "He wants me to get my own school work done before I help him with anything."
"I've been through a lot of things in my life, really tragic situations," Euting said. "I know the only thing that's ever really helped me was to go to God."
Whether it was quick moment spent praying together, or some encouraging words, Puff said Euting's kindness has lifted her spirits. She believes all of Euting's students notice his caring approach, an approach that goes beyond focusing on classwork alone.
That's why she nominated him for WHNT News 19's Tools for Teachers award. As a winner, Euting said he's honored and hopes to use his $319 in cash on an iPad for the classroom.