Doug and Jeff at Carmel Farmer's Market

Good Day Carmel – Doug Dolen

“There is always someone worse off than you,” Doug Dolen is fond of saying.

Perhaps you recognize Doug and have enjoyed his beaming smile and positive attitude. If not, catch him at the Carmel Farmers Market where he has been a volunteer for the last 24 years. Most recently, I found him in a large, decorated wooden chair, carefully counting eager shoppers. He clicks for each person as they enter Carter Green looking for the perfect strawberry-rhubarb pie or fresh arugula.

“One of my favorite things about arriving at the market each Saturday morning is Doug’s smiling face, greeting me at the entrance to the Tarkington garage with a joyful ‘Good Morning!’” said Leah York, board Member for the Carmel Farmers Market. “He is the type of volunteer nonprofit organizations dream of – consistent and dependable with contagious enthusiasm.”

Dolen is legendary for his love of Carmel. He credits his parents with getting him involved in the Carmel Fire Department as a volunteer. While his dad would be out fighting fires as a Carmel volunteer firefighter, his mom, as a member of the ladies auxiliary, would deliver water and snacks to the hot and tired firemen.

Even though he struggles and tolerates the heavy metal brace that helps him stand due to his severe scoliosis, Dolen was the custodian at Carmel Clay Schools for 20 years, retiring in 1999. He says he enjoyed the teachers and staff, and loved helping the children and talking to them every day. Now he runs into those same kids as adults around Carmel and they recognize him, which brings him great joy.

Following in his parent’s footsteps, Dolen is a longtime and proud volunteer for the Carmel Fire Department. Currently he works with Public Education Officer Renee Butts. “Doug is a big deal around here,” she said. “He even has a chief’s badge. He is an inspiration to the men and women of CFD.”

Carmel Volunteer Firefighter Doug Dolen

Dolen works with children, teaching them about fire safety. He preaches the practice of “Get out, stay out,” and not to go back in the house for anything, including pets.

While he has been publicly applauded many times for his dedication to the fire service as a volunteer, say thanks to Doug when he greets you at the Farmers Market. You will get a huge smile in return.

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