Attorney and community leader Denise Bowman has been a Bucks County resident for 42 years. She lives in Middletown Township with her husband and two teenage sons, and she's a partner at the law firm of Antheil, Maslow & MacMinn, LLP in Doylestown. After decades of service to her community through various business and charitable organizations, Denise recently announced her candidacy for judge of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas.
As an active member of the community, Denise has served on numerous local non-profit boards over the years, including the United Way, YMCA, Red Cross and Youth Orchestra of Bucks County. She has served as a volunteer coach for the Bensalem School District Mock Trial Team and represented victims of domestic abuse as a pro bono attorney through Legal Aid of Southeastern PA. Within the business community, she served as Chair of the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
We talked to Denise about the passion behind her involvement in the community, her love for the area, and any advice she could give someone else looking to pursue a career in service.
BH: You've volunteered with youth programs such as the Bensalem School District Mock Trial Team and Youth Orchestra of Bucks County. What activities were you involved in growing up in Bucks County? And how did they inspire you to get involved as an adult?
Denise: From a young age, I was a gymnast – in the gym 3 hours a day, 6 days a week. It was that and school – nothing else. When I was 16, I learned I had been born with a spinal disease the development of which had been accelerated by the rigors of the sport of gymnastics. I underwent a spinal fusion and a rod and screws were implanted in my back at 17. I spent the next 6 months of my senior year in high school in a plastic brace – 23 of 24 hours a day. Needless to say, the dream of competing at the collegiate level was over.
I had my surgery at Shriners Hospital. I recuperated for a week in the girls ward among many young women my age – some of whom were from other parts of the world and all of whom seemed to have much more significant conditions than me. One young woman arrived the night before my surgery. She was a gymnast from South America who had broken her neck. She cried all night. She had to be terrified – apart from her family in a country not her own. And here I was, with family and friends all around me. Years later, my now husband and I came across an article about this young woman. A local family had taken her into their home. She recovered fully and ended up staying here in the United States (locally). The experience of seeing how the Shriners made a difference for so many young people needing orthopedic surgery inspired me to work the following summer selling tickets for a large fundraiser the Shriners hold each year. But I have to believe that learning what that family did for the young woman in the bed next to me inspired me as an adult, as a mother, to get involved in activities and programs that benefit the youth in my community.
BH: What's an accomplishment that you're most proud of?
Denise: I'm most proud of my two teenage sons, Ryan and Zack. Their individuality and excitement to live their future plans is inspiring.
BH: As a Bucks County resident of 42 years, do you have any favorite spots in the area?
Denise: I probably could spend a week going in and out of the shops, restaurants and other small businesses in the many small towns that make up Bucks County. Peddlers Village is one of my favorite spots. It’s a great locale with lots to do, but it’s also where my husband, Jason, proposed 23 years ago – so it has a special place in my heart.
BH: What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
Denise: A family vacation or day trip with family or some friends to the beach or a ball game would be my favorite use of any free time. Just having fun and laughing is such a rare commodity these days, but it’s my favorite way to spend time with those close to me.
BH: What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career of service as you have?
Denise: Find something that resonates with you. Serving others is a privilege and you will always get more out of it than you give, but it is just that much more satisfying when it has some personal connection to you or your values.