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Crash victim put family first

October 18, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - A Maryland correctional officer who worked long hours to support his family, Donald L. Mowen "put his family above his own needs," his widow said Sunday.

Mowen, 46, of 6172 Mountain View Drive, was killed in a 2:31 a.m. accident Saturday near Exit 3 off Interstate 81 south of Greencastle, Pa., according to Pennsylvania State Police. He was driving a 2002 Ford Ranger north when the pickup truck went into the median and rolled over several times before it came to rest in the southbound merge lane, police said.

"He was working and was on his way home from work," Linda Mowen said. "He had been working a lot of overtime lately" to earn money to get her vehicle fixed and to pay the bills, she said.

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The couple celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary in September "and we went together the whole way through school when we were kids," Linda Mowen said. The couple has two sons, Kurtis Shane Mowen and Andrew Shawn Mowen, she said.

Donald Mowen worked on a farm in Clear Spring as a teenager and enlisted in the Army when he was 17, his wife said. During nearly 18 years in the Army, she said Mowen served as an infantryman, an artilleryman, a motor pool sergeant, a recruiter and a railhead supervisor in Germany during the first Persian Gulf War.

His assignments included Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Sill, Okla.; and another overseas assignment in Turkey. He was reassigned to the former Fort Ritchie base in 1990, when his family returned to the area to take care of Linda Mowen's dying father, she said.

His last assignment was at Fort Polk, La., she said. He was a staff sergeant when cuts in the military budget put an end to his Army career in 1991, she said.

After leaving the Army, he became a correctional officer, first at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup, Md., and then at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, Linda Mowen said. He worked as a correctional officer for about 10 years, she said.

Mowen said her husband recently received a letter of recognition from Warden Joseph P. Sacchet for his role in helping find a weapon in the prison.

Donald Mowen went out of his way to help others, whether it be a family member or a stranger stranded along the road, she said.

Linda Mowen said she has had health problems in the last two years and, with her car needing repairs, he had been driving her to and from work in addition to working his 4 p.m.-to-midnight shift.

"He's really been my soft place to fall," she said.

"The last thing he told us was he loved us before he went to work," Linda Mowen said.

"He kissed me and told me to rest and he's the one that should have been resting," she said.

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