Hilda Hurley, right,works with members of her crochet class at Brandon Senior Center
Posted November 9, 2017 | 11:21 AM

Volunteer Hero: Hilda Hurley Runs Tight-knit Group

Hilda last year spent almost 500 hours teaching seniors to crochet, knit, make jewelry, and create other items.
Our Volunteer Hero series highlights local people who donate exceptional amounts of time, expertise, and energy to make Hillsborough County a great place to live, work, and play. 

One participant in Hilda Hurley's crochet class describes the volunteer teacher as "our angel," but she's no pushover. Hilda is a perfectionist.

More than once she has suggested Lucy Hastings unravel her work and start over. "It has to be done right, or not at all," says Lucy, an ardent admirer of Hilda's approach. "She's a very good teacher. If anybody could teach me to know what the heck I'm doing, it's her."

Hilda has worked with many seniors since 2010, when she began volunteering with Hillsborough County Aging Services. Along with crocheting, she teaches knitting, jewelry-making, and other creative skills at Sterling Heights Senior Nutrition Center, Plant City Adult Day Care Center, and her home base, Brandon Senior Center.

Her charges make shawls, lap blankets, hats, clothing, and baby blankets for day-care centers, nursing homes, and women's shelters. "We make what they need," Hilda says.

Last year she logged nearly 500 volunteer hours. "I just love making things and teaching people how to do something they don't know how to do," she says. "It is so amazing to see how they progress."

Hilda volunteers at least four days a week. When she's not at a County senior facility, she and her husband, Neil, watch over their 5 acres in Thonotosassa. They raised six children, and now have three dogs.

Hilda deflects praise of her volunteer work to class participants - "If it wasn't for them wanting to learn, I wouldn't be doing this," she says - and does whatever it takes to help them learn. She once taught herself to crochet left-handed, so she could help a left-handed class member improve her stitching skills.

Are you looking for the right opportunity to volunteer in Hillsborough County? Take our volunteer quiz or, if you know your area of interest, learn how to get involved. Aging Services is among the County departments looking for volunteers.

Photo Information: Hilda Hurley, right,works with members of her crochet class at Brandon Senior Center.