Fowler selected as Amherst’s volunteer representative

Kidney foundation, Christmas for Kids, Dick’s Jamboree among her activities

Published on April 17, 2017

Joan Fowler has been selected as Amherst’s representative volunteer of the year.

©Andrew Wagstaff - Amherst News

AMHERST, N.S. – Every volunteer organization would love to have a Joan Fowler.

Whether it’s the local kidney foundation chapter, the Christmas for Kids campaign, or Dick’s Jamboree, all have benefited from her tireless efforts, but with each organization the Amherst woman points to a key leadership figure that has inspired and motivated her.

I think you just fall into it, and then you don’t get out of it.

Joan Fowler, Amherst volunteer

With the kidney foundation, it has been long-time president Sharon Gould, who she has volunteered with since 1982.

“Sharon and I went to the same church, and her sister-in-law called me because they were trying to get a meeting going about canvassing the town, and wanted to know if I’d do it,” recalled Fowler. “Because it was new and I liked the people, I said I’d do from James Street down to the track. I’m still friendly with these people and I just stayed with them.”

For Dick’s Country Music Jamboree, which donates to local charities and people in need, she said it is her fondness for organizer Dick Bristol that keeps her involved. Fowler donates door prizes to the event every week, including homemade jams from her handpicked berries.

Bristol grew up not far from her, and she enjoys him, even when he loses his temper.

“I like Dick; the more he hollers, the happier I am,” said Fowler, who often laughs while recalling memories. “He knows I’d never let him down. He’s had some good people down there and he works hard.”

As for Christmas for Kids, which collects and distributes gifts to children in need, she became involved when the local council of churches took over the program. Jean Miller was the new president, and Fowler had worked with her for several years as secretary.

“Jean Miller had a great way about her,” she said. “So many people I have found with different things, once their picture is in the paper, you don’t see them again. But Jean worked, and it was good for me to have someone in front of me who was effective as she was.”

Fowler took on the treasurer’s job for Christmas for Kids, and held until the Amherst Lions Club took over the program in recent years. She remains involved as an advisor and board member.

A graduate of the St. Charles Business School, Fowler went on to a career in that field, spending decades working at the Springhill Institution until her retirement in 1994. Her expertise in that field is what often gets called upon in her volunteer work.

Her and husband Jim do not have children, which also gave her more time to get involved with different things, she said.

“I don’t think of anything of it, because I’ve always done it,” said Fowler. “I think you just fall into it, and then you don’t get out of it.”