Lowery and Anders named Distinguished Citizens at BSA event
CHARLES TOWN — The Shenandoah Area Council of Boy Scouts of America welcomed a packed room on March 23, as they hosted the annual Friends of Scouting Dinner. The event, held at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, honored two Jefferson County natives, Clayton Anders and John Lowery.
Both Anders and Lowery have served as coaches after growing up in Jefferson County, Anders at nearby Boonsboro (Maryland) High School and Lowery at Jefferson High School.
Opening the evening, Sheriff Pete Dougherty welcomed individuals to the event and encouraged them to financially support the Boy Scout organization.
“Tonight we honor and thank two men who have had a large impact on young athletes,” Dougherty said. “We are also here to raise funds for an organization that connects youth to youth, youth to adults and to the community.”
According to Jim Thomas, statistics on the direct community impact scouting has had in Jefferson County show that scouts have partnered with 15 community churches and organizations to offer a quality scouting program to over 700 youth. He added that 12 scouts have earned scouting’s highest honor of Eagle Scout, while other scouts have been introduced to over 100 potential careers and hobbies through the Merit Badge program.
“Over 5,000 hours of community service were given by scouts throughout the county, including local schools and the annual food drive to help those in need,” Thomas said, before welcoming Eagle Scout Samuel Smith to the podium to share with the audience what scouting has meant to him.
“Scouting has kept me active,” Smith said, mentioning he was never overly interested in sports. “It has also helped me with my social and communication skills. These are skills that will be useful throughout my life.”
The main portion of the evening activities centered around the two men selected to receive the Distinguished Citizen honors.
Anders, who coaches football at Boonsboro, resides in Shenandoah Junction. He is a graduate of Charles Town High School, where he played football for then-Coach Doug Lutman. He went on to play at Shepherd University under the guidance of Coach Walter Barr. After a short teaching term at St. Joseph’s High School in Emittsburg, Maryland, Anders moved to Boonsboro in 1978 as a physical education teacher and assistant football coach for Don Lewis. He also served as head coach of the girls basketball team. He became the head football coach in 1985. He still holds the position, and has an overall career total of 216-143, placing him 15th on the All-Time Winningest Maryland coaches list.
Former player and now assistant coach Brad Keller was on hand to share some comments about Anders.
“I’m speaking for a community,” Keller said. “It’s overwhelming. It’s not only who he coached on the field, but in class, administrators, teachers, officials, opposing coaches that he has influenced.
“He is the ultimate scout leader,” Keller said, as he listed off traits describing Anders, including “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, brave, thrifty and reverent.”
Another former player, Mark Engle, commended Anders’ service.
“Coach is no different at 0-10 than his is at 10-0. He invests in the players with compassion and a heart for kids,” Engle said. “All of his players are family to him, and he treats them like sons.”
Lowery has served as the head baseball coach at Jefferson High School since its opening in 1973. In addition, he coached football and basketball during his career. As head basketball coach from 1986 to 1997, Lowery appeared four times in state tournaments.
Baseball has captured his attention since the beginning, and he has taken Jefferson players to 12 state championships. His teams have also been runners-up four times, regional champs 24 times and sections champs 30 times. Lowery’s record as of Saturday stood at 1,286 wins, 324 losses and three ties. He has been inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame, the West Virginia Baseball Coaches Association Inaugural Class, the National Baseball Coaches Association and has won Coach of the Year 22 times since 1978. He holds the title for the all-time winningest coach in West Virginia high school sports history, among many other awards.
Dr. Bobby Jones shared a few words about Coach Lowery, stating that sports is like life, both good and bad.
“John never gives up, no matter how far behind or how far down,” Jones said. “He pushes and encourages players to make them the best they can be both on the field and off.”
Also speaking about Lowery, was former Superintendent of Schools Jud Romine.
“My first experience with John was at the old Harpers Ferry High School. John came in as a coach. We both started there and were hired by the same man, John’s dad. I earned my way to get my job,” Romine quipped to laughter in the room. “His dad was superintendent.”
Romine commented on Lowery’s success at coaching, but also commended him for all of his work, along with the entire baseball program, to provide the facilities at Jefferson High for students.
Both Anders and Lowery took a few moments to thank the Boy Scouts for the awards.
According to Anders, he has been blessed in his life through his family and upbringing, through his marriage, through those he has coached and through being a child of God.
“I’m motivated because I have players I’m excited about coaching,” Anders said.
Lowery said he has accumulated a lot of memories over the years and commended all of the baseball players and families along the way. In reference to the facilities Romine mentioned, Lowery said they have been a result of the community. He especially referenced the Andrew Rotruck facility that was so-named in honor of Rotruck, who played at Jefferson and was killed in a car accident at the start of his freshman year at Potomac State College.
“As my friend., the coach at Fairmont State said, ‘I’ve been around from no phones to I-phones,'” Lowery concluded.