As I awoke yet again to a beeping pager going off in the middle of the night, I realized the static was another urgent call either for mom, or if dad was home from flying planes, maybe for both of them.
Growing up, I just thought it was a usual thing that people like my parents, who were always helping others, simply just did. Whether it was being a volunteer EMT on-call 24/7, youth sports coach, fundraising officer, school board member or taking in a foster youth, I believed this was the norm, and what all of us people just did.
With time, I began to learn a new realty, which was that maybe this behavior wasn’t as common.
It wasn’t until more recently, decades later, that I realized that what my parents were doing, and are still doing, is more of a rare attribute and certainly one that is vitally important to the health and well being of local communities.
You see the way Sandy and Kent Owen have always gone about their service, is in a quiet, unassuming way. While others may grab the spotlight, it’s Sandy and Kent who are quietly laying low doing the hard work.
I’ve come to understand that humanitarianism is quite a rare and honorable human trait, and one that I admire.
For many years in the community of Three Rivers, CA there was only one person qualified as an EMT 2 for the volunteer ambulance, (this means you can administer an IV), and she worked quite hard to become certified as such. That person is Sandy Owen (3rd from left above). As she raised us three kids, she also gave her medical expertise and time to saving the lives of others. Additionally, my mom took charge of the ambulance finances to keep this service going for our small rural community (it was 45-min+ to a hospital). When she finally retired from this long-time duty, sadly soon thereafter, so did the ambulance service itself.
Currently, at age 81, mom directs the Woodlake Foundation Scholarship Committee, which is often a full time volunteer position for the high school.
Meanwhile, after dad Kent Owen retired from decades of military and commercial pilot duties (Air Force Purple Heart, National Guard Colonel and Captain at United Airlines), he quickly jumped into coaching (more full-time volunteerism) the girls varsity basketball teams, where he still is today at age 83.And this is along with coaching duties at the local elementary flag football team. Oh and by the way, he’s also serving another term as a Trustee on the Woodlake Union School District School Board.
I’m guessing it’s my DNA that propels me into service for my community, but I don’t do enough. As I look around, today I notice we are a small number though, and often it’s the same people doing the service…but as the Mandalorians say: “this is the way!”
The silent givers of love, time and patience are Sandy & Kent Owen. They get the award and the spotlight for true leadership. On behalf of all those they serve, including us family folk, here’s a shout out of DEEP GRATITUDE AND THANKS to Sandy & Kent, the selfless first-responders who make the world a better place.