As Coach Bill Bowie put his YMCA youth basketball team through the paces during a season in the mid 1990s, he had no idea that two decades later his name – and that of his wife Shari – would become symbolic of what the “Y” is all about. Truth be told, he was just hoping the kids could learn to make a layup.
Now, those kids – and thousands of others with and for whom the Bowies worked – are grownups who benefited from the couple’s devotion to their physical, emotional and spiritual development. And now the YMCA is about to deliver a slam dunk.
At the April 20 Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA’s 2017 Better Together Luncheon, organization officials will present the Bill and Shari Bowie Community Leadership Award. In years to come, the award will go to other significant volunteers, but Roberto E. Aguirre, president and CEO of the Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA, says he can think of few more deserving recipients of a namesake award that celebrates commitment not just to the “Y,” but to the community in general. “Bill and Shari Bowie represent just that, support to the community and to those in need,” Aguirre says. “These two individuals have dedicated their lives to helping others through a number of different organizations. To name a few of these avenues they have used we have Salvation Army, SafeHaven, the Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA, the Trinity Sports Foundation, and, of course, their church Trinity United Methodist Church.”
Bill, who owns a consulting company based in Fort Worth, says he and his wife are grateful for their association with the YMCA that started on the basketball court so many years ago.
“When I was coaching our son in basketball, one of the opposing coaches happened to be Jim Hiner, president and CEO of the Arlington YMCA (now AMA YMCA),” he recalls. “He asked me if I would be interested in working on their Youth Support Campaign. We had no idea; we both grew up in small towns, and the only thing we knew about the YMCA was the song. But we learned very quickly what a treasure the YMCA is for a community. As with every activity or group Shari or I engage in, we quickly bring the other partner into the action. I did that first Youth campaign in the mid-’90s, and we quickly got further involved.”
Involvement is something that comes second nature to Bill and Shari, who, Bill says, is “Senior VP of Domestic Operations” for Bowie Inc. “I’m kidding, although there is a lot of truth in that she manages all of our interests and volunteers at a number of local charities.”
The YMCA, in particular, became a family focus, for a number of reasons. “What we found most appealing is the fact that it is Christian-based,” he says. “And that no one EVER gets turned away (NO ONE). We love that it is family focused, that the people who work there have generally made a conscious choice for their life that their first priority is to serve others, that the volunteers of the YMCA are some of the best people in the community, that the programs they offer focus on real needs in the community, and that the YMCA always makes us feel appreciated for our time, our talents, and our treasures.”
The annual luncheon during which the Bowies will be honored will begin at 11:30 a.m. on the 20th at the Mac Bernd Professional Development Center (1111 W. Arbrook Blvd.). The Bowies will be ones in the crowd blushing. “We have never wanted or expected awards or recognition for our efforts or our gifts,” Bill says. “We are very humbled by it and still not sure we have fully processed the real honor it is.”