George Fowers worked for 20 years in Utah's mental health system, retiring in 1988. But with retirement, he didn't stop working. He began to work part-time. And he started volunteering in the system he left, donating up to 50 hours a month.
He gives freely of his skills, time and personal resources to provide social, recreational and therapy services to seriously mentally ill adults in Salt Lake County. He takes an active role in planning, organizing and supervising community activities on a weekly basis.The activities are designed to enhance a client's skills in developing relationships and behaviors to help them connect with their community and reduce their isolation and improve behaviors that may alienate them.
Fowers has planned, organized and carried out several overnight camping trips for about 40 seriously mentally ill clients this year. He arranged thoughtful activities such as horseback riding, swimming, fishing, camping, setting up camp and the attendant cooperative activities that go along with them.
D. Lynn Whittaker, unit manager of the Adult Residential Treatment Unit in Salt Lake City, recently wrote about Fowers, calling him the most dedicated of volunteers.
"George provides his volunteer services in the evenings. He comes from 5 p.m. until midnight but more days than not stays until 1 or 2 a.m., dealing with particular clients in crisis. George drives from Pleasant Grove to Salt Lake City over the Point of the Mountain, rain or shine. Occasionally in the winter months he has had to spend the night at the program because the roads are too hazardous to travel. Although this has prevented him from going home at night, it has never prevented him from arriving," Whittaker wrote.
"I would be honored if I could say I had touched as many lives in as positive and human way as George Fowers."