EFFINGHAM — Sgt. Timothy W. Owens. Sept. 21, 1976 – April 2, 2014.
Linda Ellis suggests in her poem, "The Dash," when a life comes to an end, the date of one's birth and passing are less important than the dash between those dates. The dash, she says, has a much more powerful designation — what the person did with their life.
At a candlelight vigil on the Effingham County Courthouse Museum lawn Friday, the dash for friends and family represented a loving, patriotic person and a good father.
Cousin Tony Tucker recalled the time when Owens lived with him and his family while attending Stewardson-Strasburg High School. The two, close in resemblance and age, traveled the country together.
“We took so many trips,” said Tucker. “We were always looking for something to make us happy.”
Tucker spoke of a trip to a taekwondo competition in Little Rock, Ark., where the two cousins had to sleep in their car because they couldn't find a hotel. Owens, regarded by Tucker and others as extremely talented at taekwondo, ranked high at the competition.
“We would always spar throughout the house growing up,” said Tucker. “We would play a game where you put your foot behind the other person's head when they weren't looking, so when they turned around, they got a foot in the face.”
The duo took another trip to Pikes Peak in Colorado and hiked several mountains together.
“He was very athletic,” said Tucker, who said he is still shocked by the whole situation. “I still can't believe it. He was like a brother to me.”
Belinda Rueter, who coordinated the event, read a letter from Owens' daughter, Loredana.
“My name is Loredana Owens and my dad was taken from me on April 2, 2014,” the letter read. “It was the worst day of my life.”