Bruce Doll: 2022 Lowell Person of the Year

Photo courtesy of Bruce Doll

Bruce Doll is more than just a pretty picture…although you might know him best from his pretty pictures. Well, gorgeous photographs actually.

A “shutterbug” from an early age, Doll can regularly be seen around town with camera in hand. He photographs beautiful barns, shimmering sunrises and practically every event held in town. To many, he is Lowell’s unofficial photographer, but taking photos is only a fraction of what Doll has contributed to the community.

After two decades of volunteering his time and talent behind the scenes, Doll has been pushed into the spotlight this year with the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce naming him the 2022 Person of the Year.

Twenty Years of Local Service

Doll moved to Lowell in 2000. He and his first wife Terri, who passed away in 2013, quickly got involved in the community as they raised their two boys.

The couple attended Impact Church and helped plant the Encounter Church in Belding. Doll was a cubmaster and later a volunteer with the Boy Scouts. He was a regular presence at Chamber events and soon became known for his photography skills.

Over the years, he has taken pictures for the Lowell Area Historical Museum, the Lowell Area Fire Department, the Lowell Police Department, LowellArts and Gilda’s Club, in addition to the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce. He has also been known to provide low-cost portrait sessions to Lowell High School seniors who couldn’t afford a studio package.

For 31 years, Doll developed and maintained technology for a private delivery company. He recently retired from that position but is now filling his time with new activities, such as organizing an event that will feature old-fashioned fun in the Fallasburg historic district. He also launched a photography business called Images of Vision.

“I’m not the type of person who can sit around,” Doll says. “It makes my heart feel good [to volunteer].”

Special Love for the Kent County Youth Fair

Of Doll’s many volunteer activities, none has been closer to his heart than the Kent County Youth Fair. Doll was involved in the fair for more than 19 years and played an instrumental role in the annual event.

“That was the best week of summer,” he says.

Not only did Doll provide tech support for the sound system and entertainment, but he also cultivated a list of sponsors for the fair that helped ensure its success. He arranged for the week’s entertainment, handled advertising and coordinated outreach events such as a community day at the zoo, the Lowell Expo and Riverwalk Festival.

During fair week, Doll would handle events for the Royal Court, organize Reading for Rides and plan the Handicapable Day luncheon. He was also among the core crew that would set up and tear down the fairgrounds as well as troubleshoot any problems that arose. And yes, he would take pictures too.

“For somebody who loves people, fair is the perfect place to go and volunteer and make it happen,” Doll says.

While Doll’s tenure volunteering with the Kent County Youth Fair has ended – he was not reelected to the board last year – he says he will always cherish the memories and friendships he made during his time with the fair.

Encouraging Others to Become Involved

Like past people of the year, Doll wants to use his moment in the spotlight to encourage others to volunteer as well. During his acceptance speech at the Chamber’s Winter Gathering, he noted that everyone seems to have a passion for something, but passion without action won’t yield worthwhile results.

“In the old days, everyone helped everybody,” Doll says. He has tried to live his life that way: helping out wherever he is needed and wanted. Volunteering also comes with some fringe benefits, he says: “It’s a nice thing to make people smile.”

When not volunteering, Doll is spending time with his wife Suzanne and their family. Between them, they have four adult children and six grandchildren.

Being named Person of the Year doesn’t mark the end of a journey for Doll. Instead, it’s just one stop in an eventful life that will continue to be filled with meaningful activities and fantastic friends.

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