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John Dowling Receives Awards for his Volunteer Work

James Rada, Jr.

2018 was quite a year for John Dowling, age seventy-five, of Thurmont. The Thurmont Lions Club, Thurmont Grange, and Mother Seton School all recognized his abundant volunteer work in the area.

“I guess I’m involved just about everywhere,” Dowling said. “It’s in my blood.”

Last fall, Dowling’s work was recognized three times.

Mother Seton School recognized him for his thirty-six years of work at the Mother Seton School annual carnival. Dowling and his wife, Kathryn, got involved with the carnival when their children attended the school. Besides helping to start the carnival at the school, the Dowlings also launched the successful bingo and auction fundraisers for the school. The work started as a way to reduce the tuition at Mother Seton School for their children, but it turned into a labor of love, even after their kids graduated and moved onto Catoctin High School.

The Thurmont Lions Club recognized Dowling as the Thurmont Volunteer of the Year. He was nominated for his work at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church and the Thurmont Senior Center. He was awarded a certificate of recognition and gift certificate for dinner at the Shamrock Restaurant at a town meeting. He was also able to designate where a $400 donation from the Thurmont Lions Club would be donated in his name. Dowling chose to split the money between the Thurmont Senior Center and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.

The Thurmont Grange also recognized Dowling with its Outstanding Community Citizen Award.

These aren’t the first awards that he has received for his community work. In the past few years, the Archdiocese of Baltimore and State of Maryland have recognized Dowling for his volunteerism.

Dowling said that he was “dumbfounded” with all of the awards last year. He considers helping his community almost an obligation.

Dowling may be retired from his appliance repair business, but he still puts in ten to twelve hours a week of volunteer work. He also continues to run a small woodworking business from his home.

“We’re here on this earth to benefit our fellow citizens,” he said.

Dowling grew up in a family of twelve children in Montgomery County, and his parents set the example for volunteerism. He remembers his mother organizing an annual dinner to benefit Montgomery General Hospital and helping his father plant grass when a new high school was built.

When he moved to the area in 1968 as a young man with a wife, he brought with him the values his parents had instilled in him. He began helping out whenever he could.

“I would help out with anything dealing with the community, because the community is an important part of the lives of everyone who lives in it,” expressed Dowling.

Of all the various places where he provides service, he considers his work with the Thurmont Senior Center the most important. He serves on the center’s board and knows how great the center’s need for help is. He picks up day-old bread from Weis that is used at the center, gives rides to and from the center to seniors in need, delivers hot meals from the Mountain Gate Restaurant to home-bound seniors, and helps with the general maintenance of equipment around the center.

The values of service to the community that Dowling’s parents taught him are something that he and Kathryn have also been able to instill in their own children.

“All of my kids do a lot of volunteer work, and they’re all successful,” Dowling said.