Mary Lee Farrior was virtually speechless when she was named the Tampa Metro Civitan Citizen of the Year on Thursday at the Florida State Fair’s Governor’s Day Luncheon.
That is no surprise. She is not one to seek the limelight. She is one to get things done, and her work on behalf of those who desperately need help, particularly children, richly deserved the recognition.
Farrior has volunteered in countless community causes since moving to Tampa in 1958, including the Children’s Home and the Spring, a sanctuary for abused women. She has helped feed the homeless and organized missions to Africa.
But perhaps her most notable legacy was helping to establish Mary Lee’s House, which offers abused children a refuge where all their needs, including counseling, medical care and legal aid, are addressed.
Since it opened in 2008, Mary Lee’s House has treated more than 12,000 children and provided more than 20,000 services.
Previously the traumatized children had to be transported from one facility to another. Now they need only go to the kid-friendly, state-of-the-art Mary Lee’s House to receive help.
As Richard Gonzmart of the Columbia Restaurant pointed out in introducing her, Mary Lee Farrior is always ready to come to the aid of those in need.
But her work on behalf of abused and neglected children will be rescuing lives for generations to come.