Auction to benefit surviving Bowman girl

Date: 2009-01-14
Source: somdnews.com

CAROL HARVAT

The man who found the surviving Bowman child wandering in the street near her home in Lusby last September has organized an auction for her benefit.

"I wanted to do something far more and beyond than just calling police that day," said Phillip Garrett. "I felt compelled to do something more."

Garrett said he decided to send out a mass e-mail gathering support to organize a benefit for the little girl he assisted and to promote neighborhood awareness. The auction, "Our Project Charity Benefit," will be a free semi-formal attire auction on Jan. 15 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Solomons.

Proceeds of donated items will go to the 8-year-old adopted daughter of Renee Bowman, who is being held at the Calvert County Detention Center on first- and second-degree attempted murder charges in relation to beatings of the girl.

After Garrett called police, they searched Bowman's home and found the bodies of her two other adopted daughters, Jasmine and Minnet Bowman. The deaths are still being investigated and no charges have been filed.

The young man, Garrett, wants the child to know that she is not forgotten by him or the community, said Susan Shaw, member of Calvert County Board of County Commissioners.

"She touched his heart very profoundly," Shaw said. "This is something he could do in the face of this horrendous situation," she said. The belief is that the child, who is in the care of Calvert County Department of Social Services, is going to need a lot of assistance for a long time, Shaw said.

"He grasps how massive her needs are," she said. She's going to need physical and mental health assistance and probably need tutoring too since she did not go to school for a long time, Shaw said, adding the girl is going to have a lot of expenses.

Garrett, a clothing designer, donated a formal dress design he created, and has gotten numerous unusual items donated from other businesses for the auction, Shaw said.

Garrett's design company, Nafis, has partnered with Calvert County Department of Social Services and The Washington Post to host the event that has garnered 35 sponsors, both with financial and moral support, he said.

"It's been a solid four months of work," he said of organizing the event. "I didn't realize how much was involved. I was focused on the end result. It's been wonderful watching it blossom."

A fund has been set up at social services for people to donate to the child and the money will give them the ability to help her through, Shaw said. People who cannot attend the auction, but want to donate, can make checks out to social services exclusively for the Bowman child, Shaw said.

The benefit is more than just an auction, Garrett said in an e-mail. The Our Project Charity Benefit will have speakers with messages "stressing the importance of public and neighborhood awareness."

Both out of town and neighborhood businesses have donated a variety of items for the auction. The prestigious Presidential Lake Golf Course donated a membership and The Washington Post donated press plates from the newspapers published when President-elect Barrack Obama was elected president, when Tiger Woods won the Master's Cup and the 2002 NCAA basketball tournament win for the Maryland Terrapins, he said. The Pink Coconut of Lusby donated a girls' night out where the winner can bring in friends for an exclusive discount night, he said. Items being auctioned range from a pearl bracelet to two hours of tattooing with a local tattoo artist. There's a plethora of different items, he said.

"We wanted items to identify with every age," Garrett said.

Garrett said he wants the auction to be mindful of its cause.

"It is time that we all embrace the notion that the responsibility of providing safe havens for our children does not rest solely on the shoulders of the state," a flyer stated.

Registration begins at 3 p.m. with music from area high school choirs and hors d'oeuvres provided. An RSVP to attend is requested by e-mailing OurProject-1.15.09@ gmail.com.

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