EFFINGHAM — Only a day after the tragic shootings at Fort Hood, family members of Timothy Owens, are remembering the man who meant so much to them.
Terry Miller, of Indianapolis, Owens' sister, hadn't spoken to her brother until this Sunday, when she finally was able to learn more about her birth family. She said even in their first conversation, she felt like she had grown to know the man she had been searching for.
"We had a really good talk and we got to laugh," she said. "I could tell he was such a wonderful person, and I wish I could have met him in person. I would have loved to get to be able to hug him at least once in person."
Owens' brother Darrell Johnson, of Prairie City, said he remembered Tim as someone who was always willing to help another person, always willing to put himself before others.
"There was one time, when I would need help working on a vehicle. I called him and he dropped everything just so he could be there to help me," he said. "That was the kind of guy he was. He would help anybody who needed help."
That desire to help others may have been what led to Owens' service as a counselor at Fort Hood. After serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, he returned to working with those dealing with PTSD and other mental health issues at Fort Hood. Owens' cousin, Glen Welton, said Tim knew the pain many were suffering through.
"He knew that soldiers were going through some bad stuff," he said. "Whatever happened there, I think he tried to stop it."
With the tragedy still so fresh in the family's mind, processing the death of a man who has meant so much to so many has been difficult.
"It's been so surreal," Miller said. "I remember watching things like Columbine and thinking 'I can't imagine what those families feel like.' I know now."