By Kevin Eickman
A common thread between the 12th Man Gridiron Club Hall of Fame inductees is community service. Joseph Bowen is no exception as he has dedicated his life to helping others. Following his graduation from Milford in 1988, Bowen decided that service to his country and community would be his path.
Bowen spent the next three years in the United States Army, serving in Operation Desert Storm. When time for re-enlistment was up, Bowen had to think long and hard about whether the Army was for him. “It was a very difficult decision for me, but it came down to the fact that the growth potential was probably not going to be there for me, so I decided to seek a different path,” Bowen stated.
That path led Bowen into law enforcement, where he spent 13 years serving the community. “I really enjoyed being a police officer, but it turned out I would be needed elsewhere,” commented Bowen. “In 2016 I left the department to become a full-time caregiver to my sister Jane. She has special needs, and I felt it was my responsibility to take what I consider the most important job of my life.”
` What Bowen has and continues to accomplish in his life leads directly back to his time playing for the Buccaneers. The life lessons, discipline and respect for others that he learned on the field are the things that made him who he is today. “Football was a great joy for me at Milford. I enjoyed my teammates, my coaches, the community and the school,” said Bowen. “It gave me the structure I needed to become a better person.”
Bowen was a four-year letterman for Milford, playing on both sides of he ball. His greatest accomplishments came as an offensive tackle. He was named 1st team All-Conference as a senior, after being named 3rd team as a junior. Bowen was also named 3rd team All-State as a senior.
Former coach Jack Simon offered high praise for Bowen. “He was the type of player that any coach would love to have, he was a dream to coach. When you showed him something he executed it,” Simon stated. “He was the type of player that could rally the team, his teammates always thought very highly of him. He was simply a go to type of player.”
Bowen offered a great deal of credit to his grandmother who took care of him when his single mother, Sue Brooks went off to college. “They both sacrificed so much for me so that I could compete in sports and to make a better life for our family. My mother would go on to teach for over 20 years at Banneker Elementary School. Believe me, they both sacrificed a great deal for us,” he said.
When asked about being named to the Hall of Fame, Bowen offered up one final thought. “I was also very surprised. Think about it, who would remember a lineman that played over thirty tears ago. I guess that’s what makes Milford the special place that it is.”
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