On Saturday, Oct. 13, Wayne Cross passed away at his home in Versailles. Wayne was a center on the GCS varsity football team in the late 1960's. And he continued to make a valuable contribution to the sport for the remainder of his lifetime.
In the early 1980's Wayne began to appear on the sidelines at Hillis Field as an EMT for high school and youth football games. He was a welcomed presence and his assistance to injured Gowanda athletes was invaluable. And, it was all done on a volunteer basis.
In 1990, I was in my third year working at the Jim Kelly Football Camp down at St. Bonaventure University. Jim had promoted me to an administrative position and gave me the opportunity to hire much of the staff. I quickly reached out and secured Wayne's services as one of our camp EMT's. He held that position for the next 22 years.
Wayne made friends with everybody at the camp the included NFL players, coaches, counselors and or course the young athletes. Jim Kelly also became close with Wayne and invited him to his home in Orchard Park around Christmas time each year. Wayne would dress up as Santa Claus and provide treats to the children at Jim's annual Christmas party.
In recent years, the football community began to show their gratitude for his unselfishness and Wayne was honored at several area sports banquets. His presence on the sidelines during the fall will be missed by everyone. Rest in peace buddy.