Who We Are: Harry Owen: Freedom comes with a price | SummitDaily.com

Who We Are: Harry Owen: Freedom comes with a price

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Summit Daily/Mark Fox

SUMMIT COUNTY – Blue River resident Harry Owen knows a lot about sacrificing for the greater good. His military career – spanning more than three decades – lasted 29 years and eight months. He spent 14 years in the U.S. Army’s special forces, and is proud to wear his green beret.

“My family has given up a lot to allow me to participate in the military,” Owen said. “I felt it was something that needed to be done.”

When reflecting on the meaning of America’s Independence Day, he said “it celebrates our independence as a nation without any other entities governing who we are and who we should be. It’s not just barbecue and fireworks, and it crosses all political lines.”

Owen said his goal for the U.S. is to remain the best example of what a democracy could be and should be.

To celebrate patriotism and military service, Owen – along with hundreds of other service members, past and present, from all American military entities – attended Dillon’s “Never Forget: An Evening of Tribute” Friday evening. There, they observed Independence Day a few days early by honoring the sacrifices made by men and women in the service, and in all the American wars.

When asked to express his opinion on what it means to be an American in the military, Owen quoted Thomas Jefferson: “The tree of liberty must be nourished, from time to time, by the blood of tyrants and patriots. It is the proper maneuver.”

He went on to say this means that freedom is not free, and that you must work for it.

“There are those who can provide it for the population, and they do so willingly and at a great sacrifice to themselves and their families,” Owen added.

Owen began his military career in high school, and then went on to serve in the U.S. Army Special Forces, the Colorado Army National Guard, and he was deployed in the first Gulf War for the 93rd military police battalion. He retired Jan. 31, 2002 as a lieutenant colonel for the U.S. Army, and moved to Blue River with his wife, Sally.

“We’re the original Harry and Sally, before the movie,” Owen said with a laugh.

The Owens, who’ve been together 44 years, have two children – Heather Carlson and Scott Owen, and a new granddaughter, Jessie.

Since retiring, Owen has gotten involved in Homes for our Troops, an organization helping to build houses for disabled soldiers. Right now, Owen is raising funds to construct a home for a soldier who lost both his legs. The home will likely be built in Elizabeth, Colo.

Owen is also a mentor for Summit County Social Services, he’s involved with the Summit County Rescue Group, and he works as employer support for the National Guard and Reserve.

“It’s helping employers understand what their responsibilities are when individuals are deployed and return, and it’s to protect both employers and employees,” he said. “It’s to make sure they still have a job.”

Owen noted that deployment can last up to a year, and it can be difficult for businesses to lose key employees for that length of time and then reincorporate them.

SDN reporter Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at crow@summitdaily.com.

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