Tampa Shriners Hospital names Chief Tour Guide Frank Harmon Volunteer of the Year

Member of Egypt Shriners has served 2,600 hours

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Frank Harmon is Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa’s Male Volunteer of the Year 2017. Remarkably, Mr. Harmon has volunteered 2,600 hours at the hospital since becoming a tour guide in 2010. A cancer survivor, Mr. Harmon was naturally drawn to hospital service. Mr. Harmon says he received good care at his hospital, “felt fortunate, and wanted to give back.” As a Shriner, Mr. Harmon is passionate about sharing the hospital’s mission.

A retired general contractor who built homes and commercial buildings, the husband, father of six and grandfather of nine became a Shriner nearly 19 years ago.

Mr. Harmon’s fraternal roots run deep. His grandfather and father were both Master Masons, members of Scottish Rite and Shriners.

“The more I found out, the more I liked it,” said Mr. Harmon, who served two terms as his lodge’s Worshipful Master and is a member of the Scottish Rite and York Rite. He also is a proud member of the Egypt Shriners’ Provost Guard.

As a hospital tour guide, Mr. Harmon is among the first people whom patients, families and visitors see. His characteristic warmth and sense of humor puts everyone at ease.

"I am here to do my Shriner duty,” he says. “Everything we do for our patients at our hospital is very good and should be supported.”

Recently, Mr. Harmon took a new volunteer on a tour. Professional and friendly, he explains the history, mission, and importance of the Tampa Shriners Hospital. He also points out one of its unique features.

“Unlike most hospitals, Shriners [Hospitals for Children]— Tampa, does not smell like a hospital,” he says. “We don’t want the children to smell that hospital smell and think of the hospital as a bad thing. We want children to think of our hospital as a good place, where they can get better.”

They keep walking as Mr. Harmon explains how each department cares for patients. When he reaches Pediatric Orthotics and Prosthetics Services (POPS) LLC, he explains, “People working in POPs are geniuses; they help our patients who lose limbs, or have clubfoot. POPs makes new arms and legs for kids who lose limbs. If a patient loses a foot, we can make them a new one. Or, we can fix the one they have, if they have clubfoot.” Mr. Harmon emphasizes how the care the hospital provides improves patients’ daily lives “Our hospital’s whole purpose is to get these kids moving again,” he says.

All the departments are amazing, he says, taking care not to show favoritism. Not that he doesn’t have favorite memories. He recalled a time when he was giving a tour and a boy excitedly ran toward him in the hall.

To set up a hospital tour, call the volunteer coordinator 813-975-7159. Click here for more information about volunteering.