Firefighters gave a Green Country Fire Chief a final send-off Monday after he passed away from cancer last week.
Owens and Company Fire Chief Todd Owens was Fire Chief in Vera for 25 years.
“For a man that gave his life to this, we get to treat him first and give him the dignity he deserved, and take care of him this time,” said volunteer firefighter Scott Meyer with Owens and Company.
Owens’ crew said he lived and breathed firefighting and serving others. They said even when he was in a hospital bed last weekend, he was making phone calls trying to get a loan to get his crew a new fire truck. He died two days later.
“He cared about everybody else, and he put himself second, but he should be made first,” Meyer said. “Today we get a chance to put him first.”
Owens’ crew got to give their Chief the proper send-off Monday by escorting him to his funeral, then to the cemetery. They were joined by fire departments from all over the area.
“This was his life. He lived, breathed, dressed fire, no matter what,” said Meyer.
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Owens’ grandfather started Owens and Company volunteer fire department in Vera, decades ago. After Owens served as fire chief with Northwest Rogers County, he took over as chief in Vera.
“He wasn’t concerned about his own wellbeing. He wanted to make sure the fire department was doing well, and the community could be properly served,” said Malachi Humphrey, a firefighter with Owens and Company Fire Department. “That certainly speaks to his character that that many people had a positive view of him.”
Owens instilled the volunteer spirit in his crew.
“He would do anything for anyone, regardless of who they were or what their background was,” said Kalli Kemp, an Owens and Company volunteer firefighter.
The crew works for free, but Owens taught them to show up when they are called, no matter what, because the community depends on them.
“We do it because we love it, and we want to,” Meyer said. “He instilled that in us and told us when we signed up for it, that we understand you are volunteers, but we are expected to be here, to take care of the community.”
The volunteer firefighters said they’ll carry on Owens’ legacy with the same passion for serving others that he had.