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Cross honored for community involvement

Harry Lee Cross III recently was awarded Healthy Suffolk’s Wellness and Livability Champion award.

“It was a little bit of a surprise when they told me I had been given the award,” the Suffolk native said.

Cross earned the award for his long-time service to the city. He has spent a majority of his years serving as president or chairman of many organizations. Most notably, Cross was president of the Suffolk Youth Athletic Association during its early years.

“I served as president of that for 10 years during the growing period, growing from 20 teams to 40 teams in two years,” Cross said. “There was a real need for youth sports in the area. Whenever I ride by and it’s full, I enjoy that.”

Cross served as chairman of the United Way, president of the Rotary Club of Suffolk and on the board for the YMCA. He has also worked with the Suffolk Foundation.

“Helping get the Suffolk Foundation going has been a challenge, but now it’s giving over $100,000 away a year. I was chairman of that, and it was a real privilege to get to do that,” Cross said.

Community involvement was an expectation for Cross since he came back to Suffolk in 1973. Cross’s father made it clear that if they were going to live in a community, they needed to be involved just like he was.

Along with the foundations and organizations that Cross has been a part of, he has also been a part of Sunday school for most of his adult life.

“I’ve been involved with the Sunday school for 46 years. I got started there when I was in my 20s,” Cross said.

Cross said getting the award was humbling, but the work he does isn’t for notoriety.

“I just like seeing good things happen, seeing people get help, seeing things progress and seeing some things get better. I think that’s really what it should be about,” Cross said. “We know what most of the problems are and they will be here a long time, but you can keep working at it and working to help, everything from homelessness to helping kids get the best education they can get.”

Cross was presented this award at Healthy Suffolk’s Art of Supper dinner event at the Planter’s Club in November. The award is given out every year at the fall event.