Hobart woman is Golden Hoosier – Mary Adams, 91, recognized for service to church, community, hospital

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on August 02, 2017 with No Comments

Lifelong Hobart resident Mary Adams, 91, was acknowledged by the State of Indiana on for her decades of volunteerism in the community. She was one of 22 Hoosier seniors to receive the 2017 Golden Hoosier Award. (Photo courtesy of the Office of the Lt. Governor)

Indiana recognized Hobart resident Mary Adams with the state’s premier honor for seniors: the 2017 Golden Hoosier Award.

The award was presented to Adams and 21 other recipients from across the state at a ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse on June 23.

The lone Northwest Indiana honoree, Adams, 91, is one of the founders of the Hobart Food Pantry, now in its 35th year, and she still volunteers there at least twice a week. She has volunteered for decades at her church, St. Bridget Roman Catholic Church in Hobart, and at St. Mary Medical Center, where she works in the pastoral care department and fills in as needed at the Information Desk.

“It’s quite an honor. I am very honored and humbled,” Adams said of the recognition. “I’ve just been doing the things that I normally do and take for granted and enjoy doing. It’s not a chore for me. It’s not something I force myself to do. It just comes naturally.”

The Golden Hoosier Award began in 2008 and is a collaboration between the Office of the Lt. Governor and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Aging, to acknowledge seniors who serve other Hoosiers in an exemplary manner.

“Today’s event recognized 22 senior Hoosiers whose tireless work has such a great impact on local communities. They are each examples of what a difference individuals can make when they give back, no matter how old you are,” said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch.

“Over 25 years, Mary Adams has dedicated more than 15,000 hours of service to St. Mary Medical Center, to our pastoral care chaplains, and to our patients and their families,” said hospital CEO Janice Ryba. “Mary exemplifies the spirit of service and caring that our auxiliary volunteers bring to our hospital every day. We appreciate her steadfast commitment to volunteerism both at St. Mary Medical Center and in our community, and we congratulate her on receiving the Golden Hoosier Award. It is a well-deserved honor.”

Adams began volunteering at St. Mary Medical Center in 1992. She had logged more than 15,700 volunteer hours for the hospital.

In addition to her many clerical duties for pastoral care, a department whose chaplains provide spiritual counseling and support for patients and families, Adams also participates in monthly memorial services for the families of patients who have passed. She served for many years as a Eucharistic minister who would deliver Communion to Catholic patients.

““I like the interaction with people,” Adams said of her work in pastoral care. “I chose this and I made a good choice, I think.”

Adams’s most enduring legacy in Hobart may be her involvement with the Hobart Food Pantry, which she helped to establish in 1982 in support of the families of striking local mill workers.

“It was supposed to be a temporary thing. It didn’t turn out to be that way,” she recalled. “We take care of about 150 families a week, and that’s just in Hobart. I still volunteer there at least twice a week.”

Adams was nominated for the Golden Hoosier Award by Teresa Pedroza, director of mission integration for St. Mary Medical Center.

“I believe that we find true happiness by looking beyond ourselves and asking how we can serve the people around us; to have a servant’s heart,” Pedroza said. “I believe Mary has lived her life in this manner. She is dedicated to making her community better through all of her acts of volunteering, whether it be at the hospital, the food pantry, or her church.”

Adams attributed her decades of volunteerism, in part, to her cancer survivorship. She underwent cancer surgery at St. Mary Medical Center 25 years ago and made a full recovery with no need of chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Once she had recovered, Adams began volunteering at the hospital.

“This is kind of my way of saying, ‘Thank you for the opportunity.’ I feel I am one of the lucky ones,” Adams said.

Adams’ friends sometimes question why she continues to volunteer so much of her time into her ninth decade.

“Keeping active keeps me going,” she said. “I feel like what I am doing is worthwhile. I am my own person. I am fiercely independent. I like being that way.

“Hopefully, I am making a little difference somewhere,” Adams said.

Golden Hoosier Award Winners

Mary Adams –  Hobart

Nominated by Teresa Pedroza

Mary Adams has been a dedicated volunteer to several organizations in her community for over 40 years. She has volunteered with St. Mary Medical Center for over 23 years. Her roles there included chairing the Breakfast with Santa event, volunteering in the Pastoral Care Office and helping at its information desk. She is also currently a lector at St. Bridget Catholic Church where she has been a member all her life. Mary never shies away from doing physical work either, often spending hours sorting, packing and distributing food at the Hobart Food Pantry, where she has volunteered for over 33 years and currently serves as the vice president. She also spent over 20 years as Secretary of St. Vincent De Paul and served as president of St. Ann’s Confraternity. Mary is an outstanding member of her community and received the Citizen of the Year award from the city of Hobart in 2004 in appreciation of her lifelong service


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