A 17-year veteran of the was recently honored with a prestigious award from the American Red Cross for her community service.
Sue Bowman received the Community Impact award during the 2012 Heroes of Northern and Central Connecticut ceremony at the in Plantsville on March 15.
"It was amazing, I was completely shocked and totally honored," she said.
In her work as an officer, Bowman volunteers to represent the Department’s Honor Guard in parades and supports fundraisers for fellow community members stricken with illness or injury. She also helps to organize police department teams to participate in Special Olympics events and walks for breast cancer causes and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She is also a frequent participant in services and activities of the Windsor Social Services and Senior Services departments.
Off the clock, Bowman’s community work continues. For more than 10 years, she has been a weekly volunteer at the local soup kitchen, where she spends one of her two days off each week cooking and serving food, as well as providing companionship and support to clients. She also organizes an annual food drive for the soup kitchen and recently spent two vacation days running this year’s drive, raising more than $3,000 for the kitchen.
Bowman supports other community organizations as well. She reads to children in the Windsor elementary schools and has volunteered for nearly two years for the Shriners Hospital, refurbishing wheelchairs for use by patients in need.
Windsor Sgt. Christopher McKee, who nominated Bowman for the award, said she recently invited co-workers to her home to celebrate her birthday and, in lieu of gifts, requested donations of clothing for another officer’s ongoing clothing drive or donations for the soup kitchen where she volunteers.
"Her voluntary giving of herself matches the Humanity principle of the Red Cross in that her actions are undertaken to ensure respect for each and every human being,” McKee wrote in his recommendation. "Sue does this displaying the Red Cross principle of Impartiality, as she is guided by the needs of another rather than by any other criteria.”
Bowman has always been a pioneer of sorts. Growing up in Enfield, she was the first female to play baseball in the Thompsonville Little League, then became one of the first players in the Enfield Girls Softball Association.
She moved from Enfield after her sophomore year at , and graduated from in 1979. Her career in law enforcement did not come about for some time, however.
"I got married in 1981 and then had a daughter, who is now 26, so I put off working until she went to kindergarten," Bowman said.
She graduated from the police academy in October 1994, and after 11 months with Troop W in Windsor Locks, found her niche in Windsor.
"I always had an interest in that kind of work, and I wanted to do something good," she said. "I always thought of police work as a noble profession for its public service aspect."
After 17 years on the force, Bowman remains committed to the idea of helping people. "Whether it's seeing someone I've arrested straighten out, or helping someone in need, or just talking to someone - that is the most satisfying thing about what I do," she said.