January 19, 2004
Volunteer recognized by the National Points of Light Organization
By Lisa Uzzle Gates
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—Gerard Bowles lost both his legs four years ago after a car accident. Two years ago he found his heart.
That was when he began volunteering at Methodist Rehabilitation Center. Monday he will be recognized for his efforts by the national Points of Light Foundation. He will be featured on the foundation’s website, www.pointsoflight.org, as the recipient of the Daily Points of Light Award.
“I’ll tell you the truth,” he said. “When I was laying in that hospital bed I cursed the Lord. I asked him ‘Why did you leave my like this.’” He got his answer two years later when he realized he had a lot of living left to do. “I realized I’m still here. I can get around and do most of what I want to do,” he said.
And part of what he wanted to do was help others who found themselves in hospital beds facing life-altering disabilities. He returned to Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, where he did his rehabilitation, and began working as a volunteer. He spends time talking to people about his accident and, most importantly, listening to their fears about their new lives.
“He is willing to share his story with people who are in such a difficult situation. He’s able to really understand what they are going through because he’s been there,” said Sandra Walker, director of volunteer services. “And he answers their questions honestly and openly. He’s cheerful and inspiring and a great example of what a difference volunteering can make.”