Loyal Volunteer Finds Joy in Helping Others in our Community
When Jack Rowley and his wife Pat moved to Fredericksburg, they thought it might be the perfect place to settle down long-term and get involved in the community.
Boy, were they right. And Fredericksburg sure was lucky the Rowley family decided to call this home.
“Fredericksburg seemed to be the right size and the right sort of place,” said Rowley, who enjoys having three of their four children nearby in Loudoun County but didn’t know anyone else in the immediate area back in 1999 when they made the move. “I didn’t know a soul in Fredericksburg. Somebody suggested I go by and see Barbara Terry.”
After a heart-to-heart chat with Barbara, who was president of Rappahannock United Way at the time, Rowley didn’t hesitate to get involved by volunteering.
“Barbara and I just really connected on a personal level. She said she’d really like to get me involved and she did,” said Rowley, who had been a contributor to various United Ways over the years but never had time to actively volunteer until his retirement. “One of the reasons my wife and I came here was that you can have some impact and see the results of what you’re doing. I really believe in what we’re doing in the community. We want to make a difference.”
Since 2000, Rowley has been involved in numerous projects and held various leadership and volunteer positions at Rappahannock United Way and is also involved in several other local organizations. Last year, Rowley decided to expand his United Way efforts and join United Way’s tax team as a volunteer tax preparer.
“I have friends and family members that I’ve done taxes for over the years,” said Rowley, who isn’t a Certified Public Accountant but has strong computer skills and a good business sense. “I ended up going to the last training they had to be a tax preparer. I took the basic and advanced test all at the same time and certified advanced.”
Meeting the tax clients and knowing he was providing such a valuable service was rewarding for Rowley.
“It was fun. I got to physically meet and get to know the participants of one of our programs,” said Rowley remembering one woman who was told not to file her taxes last year. “I said, ‘Let me prepare your taxes and see how you make out.’”
That particular client received a refund of $500 as a result!
“That’s what it’s about,” said Rowley. “They know you’re working to help them get as much back as you can. You try to find out what the individual situation is and talk them through it. For some people the Earned Income Tax Credit is just a godsend.”
What made Rowley want to volunteer as a preparer again this year?
“It’s a way that I can help and I like to do that,” said Rowley. “It’s tough work, but I like it. It’s a good program for the community. Without it a lot of people wouldn’t file their taxes or would spend $300 to have their taxes prepared. It’s a real benefit to people. We need more volunteers to help at our satellite locations. It’s a benefit to the community and it will be rewarding to the individuals who volunteer.”
Whether you’re retired, a college student or someone with a background in business or accounting, Rowley says people should consider joining the team of volunteers at Rappahannock United Way. No prior experience is needed – full training is provided.
“It’s a wonderful community,” said Rowley, who truly enjoys all the volunteer work he takes on. “I work just as hard now as I did when I was gainfully employed. The nice thing about this stage of my life is that you can make those choices. I choose to stay busy, but it’s more than that. It’s not just staying busy. I have control over my schedule and it’s really about doing the things that are important to me. It’s the way I want to live my life.”
Want to get involved in Rappahannock United Way’s tax program this year? Click here for more details.