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Towne Salute: Tolbert Rowe, Channel Marker Foundation

Sep 29, 2016 08:00AM ● By Cate Reynolds
By Chelsea Hanson

In 1982, an organization called Channel Marker Incorporated was created to provide psychiatric rehabilitation services for adults and youth on Maryland’s mid-shore. The organization’s programs are designed to support individuals and teach life skills to those recovering from mental illness.

Tolbert Rowe, a 31-year Greensboro resident, originally from Denton, Maryland, has been involved with Channel Marker for about 25 years. Rowe started as a member of Channel Marker Inc. before volunteering for the Channel Marker Foundation.

“I sort of matriculated, so to speak, from the incorporated board to the foundation board maybe 15 or 18 years ago,” Rowe said. “I was named the Volunteer Executive Director probably eight or nine years ago, which is the position I have right now.”

As Volunteer Executive Director, Rowe oversees and works with the board of directors to help manage and satisfy the needs of Channel Marker Inc. “from a housing and commercial facilities standpoint.” Rowe says the organization’s biggest project is their newly purchased commercial facility in Easton.

“The facility in Easton will be a solid foundation building for our organization in the services that we provide directly to our clients but also for all our administrative services,” Rowe said. “It will give us the ability to—in the future—grow the organization as the mental health needs of the citizens of the mid-shore grow.”

Rowe says he got involved after the birth of his daughter, Kelsey, who has special needs. A former high school teacher challenged Rowe to get involved in Channel Marker and he says his experience with his mentally handicapped daughter contributed to his interest.

“Channel Marker does not directly serve the mentally handicapped,” Rowe says. “They deal primarily with the mentally ill, but it’s still an at-risk population in our community.”

Despite the challenges the organization has faced, including the changes in mental health services over the years, the organization has survived and Rowe is proud of its success.

“As I got more involved in Channel Marker I became more bonded to what they do and the people that work there,” Rowe says. “The jobs that they do are just phenomenal and the service to our community just makes me very proud to be a part of it.”

Rowe dedicates his time to multiple other organizations. He is a coach and the treasurer for the Mid-Shore Challengers, an organization that provides sports opportunities to mentally and physically handicapped children.

Rowe is also involved in the Special Olympics as a former coach and currently a unified partner. He serves on the finance counsel of St. Benedict and St. Elizabeth Catholic Churches in Ridgely and Easton, respectively, and is a former president of the Caroline County Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to all his involvement, Rowe was elected President of the Caroline County Public School Board and is running for re-election this year.

Yet, he still maintains his position on the board for the Channel Marker Foundation and enjoys playing golf with his daughter.

“We have a phenomenal board,” Rowe says. “Not only the foundation board but also the Channel Marker Inc. Board. Just people who are extremely dedicated to bettering the lives of the mentally ill in our communities.”

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