One of the first stories I wrote when I began at Preston Hollow People was about Gregory Owens, a 2002 graduate of Hillcrest High School killed in Afghanistan on July 20, 2009 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Owens was genuinely loved by everyone I talked to for his humor and integrity. As longtime family friend Rhonda Graham summed up when I spoke to her in the article, “He was used to giving, and he wanted to do whatever he could to help, so he went out there to help his country. He saw it as his responsibility.”
Hillcrest’s band boosters has since created the $250 Gregory Owens Memorial Scholarship, which was awarded to senior David Hernandez. They are also ordering a plaque to be permanently installed in the Hillcrest band hall featuring Owens’ picture, the circumstancces of his death, and the accolades he recieved from the U.S. Army, including a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
All of which comes into sharper focus as Memorial Day approaches. Jim Arnold, outgoing chair of Hillcrest’s site-based decision making committee, sends along a missive asking all to honor Owens’ memory.
As my last communiqué, act or whatever as the chair, I wanted to end this year as we began it, honoring and praising Greg Owens. Greg Owens, Class of ’98, Drum Major, Eagle Scout, all around great Panther, Prairie View A&M grad, Sgt in the 10th Mountain, Fort Drum, NY died along with three other brave Americans on a dirt road in Af ghanistan by an improvised explosive device (IED).
So on Monday which is Memorial Day, whenever you are doing whatever you do; say a prayer, have a moment of silence, light a candle, raise a glass, hug your kids, but whatever you do remember that Greg Owens died so that we could be free.
Well said, Jim.