LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
“I knew right then we had accomplished our mission,” Bowling said. “I asked the captain to take me topside to see, and he did. At that moment, I knew we were going to take the island. It was a great moment.”
As a result of his wounds sustained on Mount Suribachi, Bowling was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation and a Purple Heart. He was sent home to Kentucky to recover.
He was sent to the Lexington VA Medical Center, Leestown Division and then to the Louisville VA Medical Center for treatment. During that time, members of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) visited him.
In keeping the promise he made to God, Bowling asked DAV members one thing, “How can I help?”
In 1949, by recommendation of the VA, Bowling began working for the United States Postal Service and, by 1951, was volunteering with the VA and the DAV.
Throughout the next 40 years, Bowling would go on to help countless veterans and their widows file claims for VA benefits.
During his time with the DAV and VA, Bowling has received numerous awards including the George H. Seal Award for Outstanding Volunteer work and the Lifetime Service Achievement Award from the Department of Veteran Affairs.
During the Feb. 14 awards presentation, Gov. Steve Beshear also named him as a Kentucky Colonel; both U.S. Rep. Andy Barr and Lexington Mayor Jim Barnes each presented him with a plaque for his volunteer service.
Bowling still volunteers with the VA, working on computers or making sure that there is always hot coffee for the disabled veterans that he has come to love during his many years of service.