"When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Heschel
I've introduced you to Donnie Howard on several occasions. He lives "up the road a piece" in Marion Station - we just call it, "Marion."
Donnie, the one behind the wheel, has been part of the "people" landscape around here for many years. He is a colorful character whom we all love. Everyday, he takes his five dogs - yes, they are all in the car - for a ride down what I call the, 'Crisfield strip," a leisurely ride that begins at the city limits and ends at the city dock. On any given day, you will find just as many retired people cruising the "strip" as you do young people. It is on the "strip" that casual drivers wave, honk, stop to talk to pedestrians, or drop into one of our many restaurants for coffee or a beer, or just to sit and catch up on the "happenings" of the day.
It's not uncommon for people to stop and talk to me while I'm taking photos. The other day, Donnie did just that, and introduced me to his friend, who he said was no longer able to drive. Donnie said he took his friend for a ride on the "strip" just about every day. I took a quick snapshot, and they rode off into the sunset - well it was around noon, but the sunset sounds more romantic - leaving me with a warm fuzzy feeling.
We have a lot of Donnie Howards in our town - people who give of themselves without expecting anything in return. And that, in part, is what helps make our town so special.
Oh, and don't think Donnie rides the "strip" because he has nothing to do (even I ride the strip). Donnie is a Trustee and the Safety Officer for the Marion Volunteer Fire Department. The below photo was taken last month at the fire department's 45th annual banquet where Donnie received the Ike Marshall award for top fire responder. Donnie also received a fifty-year service award and was named Marion 2009 Fireman of the Year.
During the award’s ceremony, Donnie received a proclamation from Somerset County for his fifty years of service. The award was presented by Commissioner James East and Mike McCready, President of the Somerset County Commissioners.
Over the past fifty-years, Donnie has served as president and chief of the MVFD, and treasurer of the Delmarva Fireman’s Association. Donnie has also been inducted into the Maryland Fireman’s Hall of Fame, Delmarva Fireman’s Hall of Fame, Eastern Shore Fireman’s Hall of Fame, and the Delmarva Historic Fireman’s Hall of Fame. Howard currently sits on the LOSAP Committee as well as the Fireman’s Hall of Fame Committee.
Donnie with Andy and Bonnie of Deal Island.
Did I mention that Donnie also serves as a judge on the Somerset County Orphan's Court?