Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mary Hilton Cross named Florida Hospital Association 2010 Volunteer of the Year

Mary Hilton Cross, 80, said volunteering “just came naturally” to her. “When you volunteer, you receive back more than you give,” she said.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Mary Hilton Cross, 80, said volunteering “just came naturally” to her. “When you volunteer, you receive back more than you give,” she said.

ST. PETERSBURG

Mary Hilton Cross remembers when patients' families were not allowed past the emergency room doors. She remembers seeing family members anxiously clasping their hands in the waiting room. Back then her job was to calm them in any way she could: handing out blankets, delivering updates from the doctor or providing a listening ear.

Cross, 80, said she offered that ear to many patients during her more than 40 years of volunteering at St. Anthony's Hospital. Cross' ability to listen to patients was one of the reasons she recently was chosen as the Florida Hospital Association 2010 Volunteer of the Year.

"She's one of those people that can listen quietly," said Chris Navarro, who manages the volunteers at St. Anthony's. "It's that quiet strength that makes her so successful."

Florida Hospital Association director of communications Sarah Byrd said there are 186 FHA member hospitals in Florida that can nominate a volunteer. Among other criteria, the Volunteer of the Year must serve "as a role model of hospital volunteerism."

"Mary came to mind immediately," said Navarro, who has been at St. Anthony's for 11 years. "It was a no-brainer."

It seemed that Cross' decision to start volunteering at St. Anthony's in 1965 was also a "no-brainer."

"I guess it just came naturally," said Cross, a St. Petersburg native who comes from a family of volunteers. She said her father did pro bono work as a lawyer, and her mother volunteered at a home for unwed mothers. Cross inspired two of her daughters to volunteer at St. Anthony's.

"When you volunteer, you receive back more than you give," Cross said in her soft voice.

Besides St. Anthony's, Cross also volunteered at Pinellas United Way, the Children's Home Society of Florida and others. Her tasks at St. Anthony's ranged from pushing a candy cart to working in public relations. She currently serves as a parliamentarian on the St. Anthony's Auxiliary board and volunteers in the gift shop.

She said the gift shop opened in the 1960s and started with only $1,600 and one cashier. Last year the shop raised $110,000 for the hospital.

The gift shop was not the only change Cross has seen during her time at St. Anthony's.

"They are more responsive to the families now," said Cross, as she remembered the seven years she spent updating family members on the status of their loved ones in the emergency room during the 1970s.

Navarro considers Cross an important part of the St. Anthony's family. Cross embraces that role.

"I love to bake!" Cross' eyes lit up as she shared her recipe for York mint brownies, which she often brings to the hospital.

From inspiring the St. Anthony's family to her own, Cross also encouraged others to volunteer.

"It's just a matter of listening," she said. "You learn so much."

Mary Hilton Cross named Florida Hospital Association 2010 Volunteer of the Year 10/30/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 29, 2010 1:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida GDP growth in first quarter 2017 ranks 21st among states, still outpacing U.S.

    Economic Development

    Florida's gross domestic product or GDP rose 1.4 percent in the first quarter, slightly faster than the nation's growth of 1.2 percent and placing Florida 21st among the states for growth rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Not too hot. Not too cold.

    These Jackson Square Townhomes began hitting the west Hillsborough County market late last year and continued to be sold into the first quarter of 2017. The real estate sector was the biggest driver of Florida's gross domestic product, which rose 1.4 percent in the first quartrer of 2017.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  2. Coming to Netflix in August: 'The Defenders,' 'Death Note' and more

    Blogs
    Krysten Ritter, Finn Jones, Charlie Cox and Mike Colter in Marvel's The Defenders.
  3. Report: $36 million worth of guns stolen in Florida in four years

    Public Safety

    An estimated $36 million worth of guns was stolen in Florida from 2012 to 2015, according to an analysis released this week by the Center for American Progress.

    Broken glass litters the floor of Tampa Arms Co. after thieves drove a pickup  through the front of the gun store and stole more than 40 weapons, including handguns and semiautomatic rifles. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  4. A 94-year-old's tricycle was stolen and St. Petersburg police need help finding it (w/video)

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Police are working to unite a 94-year-old man with his motorized tricycle that was stolen outside of a CVS.

    Police are working to unite a 94-year-old man with his motorized tricycle that was stolen outside of a CVS. Richard Griffin used the bike as his main means of transportation, police said, and doesn't have the $2,700 he'd need to replace it. Police released surveillance video of the theft on July 26, 2017,  a week after a man made off with the bike, hoping it might help them find the trike's captor. [Photo from video]
  5. Whale shark captured on video by diver near Naples

    Wildlife

    A man scuba diving near Naples captured a giant whale shark on video, a rare treat in these waters.

    A man diving near Naples took video of this giant whale shark.