"Serving the community is a way of paying rent for the privilege of being part of that community."
- Benjamin H. Hill, III
Benjamin H. Hill, III has long been active in local, state, civic and charitable organizations. Serving the community is an extremely important part of his life. It is not only what he does; it is part of who he is.
Mr. Hill's deep commitment to serving the community began long before he aspired to become an attorney. Mr. Hill was raised in a family that set an example for him. As a child, Mr. Hill, along with the rest of his family, was active in the local church, in school programs that went beyond academics and in the community at large. Later in life after completing law school, Mr. Hill began working with various community organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the University of Tampa and various organizations within the legal community, where he worked to find ways to continually improve the legal profession.
One of Mr. Hill's more gratifying experiences occurred after receiving a phone call from then Governor Bob Graham asking him to chair the board at Hillsborough Community College. At the time, the college was embroiled in turmoil. The sitting president had resigned, there was great division among board members, and the school's reputation was badly damaged. What was once a respected institution of higher learning in the Tampa Bay community was on the verge of having its doors closed forever. Mr. Hill's challenge was to bring stability to the board and to help restore the school's credibility. Today, Hillsborough Community College is thriving. Its enrollment numbers are up, and it is once again a respected and vital institution serving Tampa Bay. Of this success, Mr. Hill humbly remarks, "I am proud to have had a small part in the school's turnaround."
Today, Mr. Hill chairs the board of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and is a board member of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation. The Foundation's mission is to raise needed funds to finance cancer research and to create awareness throughout Florida and the Southeastern United States of the Center's facilities and its work with cancer care and research. In reflecting upon why he became involved with the Center, Mr. Hill says, "We should work hard to find a cure for cancer. It crosses all lines - economic, race, and age. It does not discriminate. I want to do my part."
Mr. Hill's sense of duty and commitment to the community are embraced by everyone who works at Hill Ward Henderson. This is at the core of the culture of the firm, thanks in large part to Mr. Hill's example. All of the attorneys and many of the staff are actively involved with various local and national organizations, such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boy Scouts of America, the Child Abuse Council, Special Olympics, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, LifePath Hospice, and the Hillsborough Association for Retarded Citizens, as well as coaching youth sports, and more. According to Mr. Hill, the firm is built on relationships, both internal and external. He adds, "We are working to serve people. We owe it to the people in our community to lend our expertise and do whatever we can."
Mr. Hill's advice regarding community service to new attorneys joining the firm is, "Get involved. Just jump in and do what you believe best reflects your gifts and training - and devote time to it. Involve the entire family. You'll find it is a very rewarding experience."
Mr. Hill's other service activities include service as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Hillsborough Community College, Vice Chairman of Hillsborough County Civil Service Board, and special counsel to Governor Bob Graham. He is also an elder and, along with his wife, Marte, an active member of Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church.
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