EFFINGHAM — From the First Baptist Church in Rolla, Mo., past the high school he once attended, thousands of flags lined the funeral procession for Sgt. Timothy Owens as he was laid to rest Saturday.
Although an Effingham native, the soldier who was killed at Fort Hood April 2, was honored by the community of Rolla, where he spent so much time as a young man. Men, women and children waved flags, took off their hats and saluted for miles as Owens' body was transported from the church to Lake Springs Cemetery to be buried.
Owens' body was brought to Rolla on Thursday, followed by more than 150 members of the Patriot Guard. Ride Captain Mark Williams said the guard was fulfilling a duty by being apart of the solemn procession.
“We wouldn’t be here without them. We have a motto in the Patriot Guard riders, which is love for country, troops and bikes. Any way we can combine all three, we’re going to do it,” he said.
Kevin Johnston, Owens’ platoon leader, remembered Owens as a tireless worker, rigorously devoted to doing the best job he possibly could.
“Sgt. Owens never seemed to rest, even when he was sitting down,” he said. “He moved with the energy and determination of a younger man and many of us were in awe of his devotion to duty.”
Johnston recalled Owens working in frigid conditions with no care for his own safety. He said Owens was always the first one into work and the last one out, even bringing newer officers up to speed and training them to his rigorous standards. Owens, he added, never complained under any circumstances unless he expected more.
“The only time I ever heard him complain was when he said he thought our training wasn’t realistic enough,” Johnston said. “Not to the Army standard, but to his standard.”