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San Mar volunteer recognized with first Hagerstown Trust Visionary Award

May 20, 2007|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN - Jone Bowman's family and friends sure can keep a secret.

For weeks, they knew Bowman would receive a special honor during a banquet benefiting San Mar Children's Home.

On Thursday night, in the Grand Ballroom of Four Points Sheraton, the surprise was revealed. Bowman was the recipient of the first Hagerstown Trust Visionary Award.

"The purpose of the award is to recognize a community leader who understands the vision of the great impact San Mar Children's Home has on the lives of children, as well as the impact it has on the community," said Bruce T. Anderson, chief executive officer of San Mar. "Jone was the perfect choice."

A former member of San Mar's board of directors, Bowman has continued to support San Mar through volunteer work and fundraising efforts.

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After accepting the award, Bowman admitted she was "overwhelmed."

"This is just a total shock. I had no clue," she said. "But it's also a very special honor, and I'm very grateful."

Guest speaker for the evening was inspirational speaker Carol Grace Anderson, who told the audience that her life has been anything but boring.

For starters, she grew up in a trailer park with circus performers for neighbors.

Carol Anderson flunked out of college several times before eventually receiving a degree in psychology. She taught in a New York prison, went to Nashville to pursue a singing and songwriting career, toured as a backup singer with Roy Clark, appeared in a movie with Sandra Bullock and has flown with the Blue Angels.

She also suffered a ministroke that left her blind in one eye, survived a Level 4 tornado and lost a sister to breast cancer.

The author of the best-selling book "Get Fired Up Without Burning Out!", Carol Anderson travels around the country sharing her message of coping with real-world challenges.

She told the crowd that "life is either an adventure or it's nothing at all."

"Get out of your comfort zone so you can do the great things you're meant to do," she said. "By risking new actions and by developing a positive attitude, you can achieve your dreams. And along the way, you can make a difference in people's lives."

San Mar, which is near Boonsboro, has served hundreds of local children since its founding in 1883 as the Washington County Orphan's Home.

Today, San Mar operates a large group home, therapeutic group home, transitional group home, shelter and school for adolescent girls on its campus. It also operates a therapeutic foster care program for boys and girls.

"We have been outrageously blessed," Bruce Anderson said. "Tonight is a way of focusing on why."

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