Bowens Take Pride in Feeding MES
Claudette and Gene Bowen share what it is like to be married coworkers and why they love their job.
Little Andrew and his twin sister are students at Maysville Elementary. Each day they step into the lunch room and head straight for one of their favorite couples. Enter Gene and Claudette Bowen.
The Bowens have become a staple in the Maysville lunch room. The married couple of 9 years have found a sense of service and dedication to their profession, and to the students of Maysville.
Each day, the Bowens wake up and head to their school and take pride in their responsibility of feeding over 375 students who fill the halls of the East-side elementary school.
“Knowing that we are always here to make sure our students have something to eat is satisfying to know,” said Claudette. “You never know if a child is going to have a meal outside of school. It weighs on you a bit but it's satisfying to know that the children are full so they can learn.”
The Bowens, who met on a blind date and have been in love ever since, show an outstanding display of service through their kindness and dedication to ensure students are fed each day.
The journey to the lunchroom position started when Claudette was searching for a job where she could serve and to give back to others. Immediately she fell in love with the position and told Gene all about it.
Not even a year later, Gene came to help out around the cafeteria when he soon realized that he also gained fulfillment from working alongside his spouse and coworkers. The two have since enjoyed every moment working together.
When the duo first began working together two years ago, it was like they hit the jackpot. They loved the daily encounters with the children, the relationships formed with their co-workers, and they realized how great of a team they made.
Working together has brought the couple even closer because serving their community together brings them joy and satisfaction.
The Bowens understand the value of a warm meal along with a smile for their students. They always make sure to exemplify positivity and radiate joy for students and staff.
The children will go inside the cafeteria bright-eyed and filled with excitement and the Bowens are ready to feed and encourage the students with kindness.
“They come through the line with a smile on their face and it is rewarding to know that we can do that for them. They also put smiles on our faces each and every day,” Gene said.
It does not go unnoticed how the pair’s positive attitude and team work continues to improve the school’s overall well-being through their upbeat personalities.
“Gene and (Claudette) exemplify what it means to be part of the MES family from providing meals for our children, taking care of coworkers, and consistently sharing a warm smile in the cafeteria,” Maysville Principal Dr. Katie Warwick said. “We are blessed to have this sweet couple here at MES!”
Coworkers have also been an important part of why the Bowens enjoy each shift, according to the couple. The pair said about how their team works well together and have become family to one another.
While working hard to prepare meals for students, the team makes jokes and laughs alongside each other. Family is what the team feels like, they all get along well and keep the Bowens excited for each shift.
Outside of the cafeteria, the two enjoy being at their campground in nature where Gene spends time fishing and Claudette works on her art and crocheting. Finding time for what brings him joy is how Gene continues to spread his happiness through school.
“We have gotten closer from working together but we also have time for our crafts or hobbies after work, which helps a lot because we get time to do the things that make us happy,” he said.
Their common interest in camping is important to the couple, it is how they relax after work each week.
Working together has greatly benefited the two of them.
“It has saved us money working together because we only use one vehicle to commute to work,” Claudette said.
It is not hard for the Bowens to work alongside one another because of how well they work as a team.
“At work we are coworkers and when we are at home we are husband and wife,” Claudette said. “We know how and when to separate the dynamic. We understand how each other's days are so we can appreciate and understand one another outside of work.”
Students at Maysville Elementary even surprised the Bowens with small tokens of appreciation; gold stars were given to the nutrition workers along with a smile and a ‘Thank You’. Those are the moments that mean the most to the couple.
Watching the students grow each year as they transition to a new grade has allowed them to build meaningful bonds with the children.
Just like with Andrew and his twin sister, who make sure they say hello to the Bowens every day.