One Roseburg teen has found his passion in an unlikely place — the emergency room at Mercy Medical Center.
Seventeen-year-old Sean Bowden has earned about 484 hours of service through the Mercy Youth Volunteer program since October 2010. Bowden spends most his time in the emergency room restocking medical supplies and fetching food and water, if permitted, and blankets for patients.
“I’ve always been interested in health care,” he said. “I try to make patients feel as comfortable as possible.”
Bowden’s dedication prompted others around him to choose him for a campaign called I Am Oregon, which calls on Oregonians to nominate and recognize people improving their communities. Bowden was named one of 11 regional representatives in the campaign out of more than 1,200 nominations from across the state.
He was selected as the Southern Oregon regional representative, along with a Medford cardiologist, by a group of peers at the Oregon Unlimited Roadshow. I Am Oregon was launched by the Meyer Memorial Trust to kick off Oregon Unlimited, a new online tool and network that enables Oregonians to share community service ideas and resources.
Bowden earned a trip to the Conference on Volunteering and Service in Washington, D.C., in June as part of the award.
At the conference, Bowden learned more about nonprofit work and leadership. He said one of the most memorable parts of the trip was a late-night run he took with another award-winner around various national landmarks.
In addition to receiving the I Am Oregon award, Bowden was recently presented with the Outstanding Youth Volunteer for Oregon Award at the annual Oregon Governor’s Volunteer Awards Luncheon.
“I think Sean is an incredible young man. I truly believe he will do amazing things in the future,” said Rose Zoellner, the youth volunteer coordinator at Mercy Medical Center. “I think he will achieve his medical dreams because he has drive.”
Bowden first got involved as a hospital volunteer after hearing about the program from another student.
“What attracts me is that you actually get to see what the patient is going through and see the changes you are making in the community,” Bowden said.
In addition to his work at the hospital, Bowden has helped raise money for Battered Persons’ Advocacy and participated in Douglas County’s Area Health Education Center for Southwest Oregon’s Teen Medical Internship Program.
During his internship, he spent three 10-week rotations at different medical sites in the community. He also traveled to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and gave several presentations.
“What Sean offers is a little bit more rare. He has set the bar high and is a role model for other students,” Zoellner said. “I couldn’t be more proud to have him as my student.”
A senior at Roseburg High School, Bowden helped launch the school’s Drug Prevention Team, is a member of the National Honor Society and Roseburg Rotary Interact Club, and runs varsity track. He also maintains a 3.8 GPA.
Bowden is considering attending Linfield College in McMinnville or Arcadia University in Philadelphia as part of his post-graduation plans. He wants to major in biochemistry and ultimately be an emergency room physician, he said.
“This might sound selfish,” Bowden said, “but the feeling I get knowing I’m helping the people in my community is heartwarming.”
• News-Review Reporter Jessica Prokop can be reached at 541-957-4209 and firstname.lastname@example.org.