Area soldier killed at Fort Hood honored in hometown

EFFINGHAM, Ill. - Family and friends of Sgt. Timothy Owens lit candles in his honor Friday night.

The candlelight vigil honoring the life of Sgt. Owens was a somber affair for sure, but somebody who knew him well, his daughter, wanted to make sure he is remembered for the man that he was. That's a man of honor and bravery, no doubt, but also, humor.

"Oh, yeah, Tim was not a serious kind of guy," said Belinda Rueter.

Rueter is a family friend. She read a letter written by Owens' 17-year-old daughter, Lori.

"They liked to talk in, she calls it, the redneck voices and just kind of joke around," Rueter said.

They are recollections granting the crowd that gathered in Owens' birth town of Effingham a bit of levity in the face of this tragedy.

"He knew his job and I think he would have faced anything to keep tragedy down," said Owens' uncle, Kenny Gerhardt.

The 37-year-old served in the army for 10 years and dedicated his life to helping fellow soldiers as a counselor at Fort Hood. He died trying to talk the gunman down.

"I feel honored myself just because he was my nephew and the kind of person that he really was," said another uncle, Wallace Gerhardt.

The same sense of honor that compelled Owens' daughter to carry on with a high school show the day after he was killed.

"She really wanted to cancel and then she thought, no, I need to do this for my dad," said Rueter.

Friends of Sgt. Owens are selling decals in order to raise money to construct a memorial in Texas where his daughter lives.


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