Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Submitted
The Carmel Farmers Market is produced and managed by “community-minded” volunteers and is headed up by an equally dedicated leadership team led by the market’s President Ron Carter and Vice President Deborah Schmitz. While a market can’t function without quality vendors, the volunteers are the heart and soul. One specific volunteer was brought to my attention by several of the veteran CFM volunteers and has been affectionately dubbed a “super volunteer” by his market peers. For that reason, we are featuring Carmel’s own Doug Dolen in this month’s CFM highlights.
CFM volunteer and retired Carmel Clay Schools administrator Jim Burrell shared some thoughts about his former student, employee and dear friend, Doug Dolen. Dolen was a student of Burrell’s while attending Carmel Junior High School—now Carmel Middle School—and Burrell hired Dolen as part of the custodial team at Carmel Elementary School while Burrell was principal there. Together the two have been volunteering at the 21-year-old market for nearly two decades.
“Doug’s got a good heart, and he’s a dedicated person,” Burrell said. “He does everything he can to help out. He’s here when the market opens, and he’s here when it closes. When he was at Carmel Elementary, the students and parents loved him. Everyone loves him, and people miss him when he’s not here at the market.”
Another CFM volunteer, Susan Bock, added, “Doug is always available when you need him to be, and he always gives 100%. He’s one of a kind. Really, the market is lost when he’s not here.”
Burrell mentioned that Dolen works at the Carmel Farmers Winter Market as well.
Ron Carter added, “Doug’s also our resident restaurant critic. He knows of every good restaurant in four states, maybe five. He and I are the only two CFM volunteers that have been to multiple locations of Lambert’s Cafe—the home of throwed rolls.”
In addition to volunteering at CFM for nearly the last two decades, Dolen has also been a dedicated volunteer with the Carmel Fire Department for almost 40 years.
“Doug Dolen is a community treasurer,” David Haboush, chief of the Carmel Fire Department, shared. “Doug’s father was part of the fire department in the earliest days. He [Doug] practically grew up at the CFD. Doug volunteers in our Fire Prevention Bureau, and he carries the honorary rank of chief. Chief Dolen is one of a kind and brings a big smile to everyone he meets. It is difficult to think of CFD without Chief Dolen. He loves our community and loves the Carmel Fire Department.”
Dolen graciously spent a few moments answering my questions at the market one Saturday morning, and I concur that he is a celebrity amongst marketgoers. Many stopped to say hello to Dolan while I attempted to steal him away for a brief interview.
“Yes, I’ve known Jim [Burrell] since I was in junior high,” Dolan said with his infectious smile. “I started with Carmel Clay Schools in 1979 when Jim hired me. I’ve been here [Carmel] all my life and live in Old Town. It’s a great place to live and a great place to volunteer. I just love it; I enjoy people, and that’s why I do it. Everyone always asks me when the summer market will start [in the off season], and so many people look forward to coming out on Saturday mornings, meeting their friends and neighbors, eating and listening to music every week. It’s the whole atmosphere of the market the people enjoy. If you are interested in volunteering [at the market] and you really enjoy people and being outside, the market is a great place to be.”
Be sure to say hello to Doug Dolen when visiting the market and check out all the June events and entertainment lineup at the market this month, posted on its website at carmelfarmersmarket.com.