When Rick Bowman, the founder and owner of Collision Experts, committed suicide last summer at 46 after battling an addiction to pain medicine stemming from a neck injury, he left behind a wife and five children.
He did not leave them destitute. But his widow and business partner, Maryann Bowman, realized that many women and children find themselves in financial straits that are not always of their own doing.
“I’m not in a bad spot,” Bowman said. “But a lot of these women end up in a bad situation through no fault of her own.”
It’s with a perspective she never wanted that Bowman today will be part of the dedication of the enlarged City Mission of Schenectady’s Child Enrichment Program, an expansion enabled in large part by a fundraising appeal undertaken by Collision Experts.
The company, with shops in Schenectady and Clifton Park, donated $7,100 raised from a holiday appeal during which it donated $28 — a dollar for each year it’s been in business — for every customer serviced. The Bowmans have long been involved in community service endeavors.
“With this generous donation, Collision Experts is making a statement about their priorities and values as a local company,” Mike Saccocio, the City Mission’s CEO and executive director, said in a statement. “Their
commitment to the most vulnerable members of our community is making a great impact.”
Maryann Bowman, now the company CEO, saw the connection between her situation and families often left in dire straits because of upheaval. She talked about the despair surrounding her husband’s Aug. 3 death after battling pain medication addiction.
“He relapsed again. He just decided he was never going to get better, and he didn’t want to put his family through that again,” said Bowman, of Rotterdam. “I would never want anyone else to be that hopeless.”
Although involved with fundraising for the privately funded City Mission for five years, Maryann Bowman decided to give all proceeds this year from its annual appeal. The renovation project allowed the Family Life Center of the City Mission to add another apartment for women and their children, who on average spend three to four months before getting back on their feet.
“Those staying at the shelter are in or coming out of crisis,” said Elizabeth Chamberlain, the mission’s director of development. “With the Child Enrichment Program, it’s really to address the needs of the child.”
In particular, the Child Enrichment Program focuses on the developmental and emotional needs of kids. The center serves 25 families a year.
“Life throws you a lot of curveballs when you think you have your ducks in a row,” Maryann Bowman said. “These people have no safety net.
“They may just need a second chance.”