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Local senior uses COVID-19 quarantine time to do something good

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Posted at 4:40 PM, Jan 05, 2021

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - It’s never too late to pick up a new skill.

“I picked up this a year and a half ago, and it didn’t take very long.”

Eighty-nine-year-old Newport News resident Mary Gross started crocheting newborn baby hats back in March when the COVID-19 lockdown went into effect.

“It keeps me out of mischief," she said.

And boy, has she been busy! So far, she's made nearly 300 hats - all from her home at Warwick Forest Assisted Living in Newport News.

“She fell two years ago and broke her leg, and then a year ago she fell and broke her hip, and that prompted the move to the assisted living. And she’s done very well despite COVID; she’s proven her resiliency,” says her son, Glenn.

And proven she’s not afraid to try something new - something that will keep newborns at Riverside Medical Center cozy when they make their way into the world.

And with the help of her son and the nice folks at Warwick Forest, we surprised her with a People Taking Action award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

"Thank you so much," Mary said.

The big surprise did leave this spry, spirited senior speechless, but the tears in her eyes spoke volumes.

Her story has been seen by people all over the country, so I asked her: What was it like to be pushing 90 and to suddenly be famous?

“What am I going to be when I get to be 100?" she laughed. I told her she'll be international by then.

Related: People Taking Action: Local Salvation Army Bell Ringer Has Reasons For Dedication!

“I almost forgot my beginnings. I made the newspaper. I was a triplet," she said. “When I was a week old, I only weighed a pound and 13 ounces."

So, Mary's been really resilient from the get-go.

“You were destined for greatness then, don’t you think?" I asked.

Mary laughed.

"Evidently!" she said.

To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, click here.