Annette Bowling the Heart of a Servant (1936 – 2016)

Photo of Annette Bowling

Annette Bowling (1936 – 2016) Courtesy Albany ARC

Annette Bowling stepped into eternity last Wednesday. She was the founder and Executive Director of the Albany Advocacy Resource Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving individuals with developmental disabilities.

There will be a lot written about Annette Bowling. I remember hearing of an account in her life that sums up the heart of a servant. It was not meeting with Governors, Senators, Representatives, or even Presidents. It had to do with a simple cocktail napkin.

What can a cocktail napkin tell you about service? In the hands of the right person it can tell you a lot.

Annette Bowling once visited a foreign country. Paper products were scarce and she was staying with a very poor family.

A fellow American on the trip observed Annette with single cocktail napkin, carefully unfolding it and cutting it into four separate pieces in order that everyone could have a napkin in a land where a simple cocktail napkin is considered a luxury.

The simple act of discreetly and quietly cutting up a cocktail napkin reveals the spirit of a servant at work. Some would have used the cocktail napkin while others did without and not even given it a second thought. Others would have gone without a cocktail napkin because no one else had one. But Annette saw more than a simple cocktail napkin.

The single ply of a cocktail napkin was something that could make a host family in a poor country feel special, worthy, and deeply appreciated. Take a moment to let the innovative servant-spirit of Annette Bowling take inventory of the cocktail napkins you can use to touch someone’s life.
Signature-Donald E. Cole

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