Mark Bowser

Mark Bowser, a sales manager in training at the North Laurel CarMax, was given the opportunity to donate a $5,000 grant to any nonprofit organization. (Photo courtesy of CarMax / December 16, 2013)

Mark Bowser, a sales manager in training at the North Laurel CarMax, was recognized and named a winner in the 2013 CarMax Cares Community Service Award program for his volunteerism in the community.

Bowser, who lives in Laurel, was given the opportunity, along with 10 other winners across the country, to donate a $5,000 grant to any nonprofit organization. Because of Bowser's involvement as a team leader in a recent KaBOOM! playground build for KIPP Baltimore, he chose to donate the grant to Capital Partners for Education, an organization involved with KaBOOM!

Bowser has worked with KaBOOM! on many different projects. For this specific project, carried out earlier this year, 200 volunteers, KIPP associates and CarMax employees came out to build a playground for young kids. Each team leader was designated a specific task, and Bower's duties were to cut and align wood for picnic tables that would be surrounding the playground.

"I love being a part of this project, it gives back to the kids," said Bowser.

KaBOOM! is not the only organization where Bowser has volunteered. Bowser helped out a fellow CarMax worker in a fundraiser so her children could attend the YMCA camps that are held over the summer. Bowser was also part of a group of employees at CarMax who worked with the Wounded Warrior Project to raise money for the organization.

"We are committed to doing projects and involving blood, sweat and tears into every one." Bowser said of his fellow volunteers at CarMax.

The Capital Partners in Education will receive a grant of $5,000 that will go toward helping low-income youth get to, and succeed, at college.

"Winning this award has been a humbling experience. It reminds me of what my parents taught me when I was a young man — that I have a duty to give back to the communities in which I live and work," Bower said.