Whether it was service throughout her more than 30-year career in the military or through her many community involvements, retired Lt. Col. Terry Owens always has emphasized care for others.
A newly elected member of the Radcliff City Council, Owens has been active in several community organizations since moving to the Fort Knox area in 2007.
Originally from Newport News, Virginia, Owens earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1987 and a master’s degree in elementary education in 1990 from Hampton University. Also in 1987, Owens joined the U.S. Army Reserves as a combat medic in the 18th Field Hospital in Norfolk, a decision that foreshadowed a long career in military leadership.
While earning her master’s degree, Owens served as a substitute teacher for third through fifth-grade students.
“I got to be a practitioner while I was learning theory,” she said.
Owens’ commitment to youth continued long after her days as a substitute teacher ended. In 2005, the Courtney Owens Educational Foundation, an organization founded by Owens, was incorporated.
Named after Owens’ daughter, the organization provided scholarship funding and monthly stipends for students pursuing higher education on the merits of leadership potential, community involvement and financial need. Scholarship recipients were selected by a volunteer group from Hampton University’s School of Nursing.
Owens said the scholarship criteria for the organization was based on the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria, which is based in T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Owens volunteered with this organization before starting the Courtney Owens Educational Foundation.
“I’ve always gravitated toward those programs that had lots of youth development and urban development,” she said.
During her career in the Army Medical Department, Owens has served as ambulance platoon leader in the 708th Main Support Battalion (Mech) 8th Infantry Division in Bad Kreuznach, Germany; treatment platoon leader and Battalion S-2 Officer for the 123rd Main Support Battalion, 1st Armored Division in Dexheim, Germany; battalion adjutant of the 21st Combat Support Hospital and Bravo Company Commander, 61st Area Support Medical Battalion, 1st Medical Group in Fort Hood, Texas; the Medical Center Brigade Personnel and Executive Officer for Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; team commander for the Northern California Health Care Recruiting Team, 6th AMEDD Detachment in Fairfield, California, and Medical Corps Branch Assignment Officer and Chief of the Personnel Services Branch, Health Services Division, U.S. Army Human Resources Command in Alexandria, Virginia. While serving at Fort Hood, Owens was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovinia.
“It’s been a great ride,” Owens said. “My family got to see and visit places that sometimes you only get to read about.”
Owens moved to Fort Knox in 2007 to serve as the troop commander and chief of military personnel at Ireland Army Community Hospital. In this role, she shared personnel administration oversight of the Medical Hold Company as it transitioned into the Warrior Transition Battalion, which included medical clinics at Fort Knox, Camp Atterbury, Indiana, and Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
In 2009, Owens was stationed in Afghanistan, serving as the deputy chief of staff personnel G1 of the 30th Medical Command. Owens helped establish medical personnel operations centers in Bagram and Kandahar and synchronized personnel functions for a 1,400-member medical task force, comprising Army, Navy and Air Force personnel.
Following her service in Afghanistan, Owens returned to Fort Knox to serve as Army medical department policy and programs integration officer in the Officer Accession and Coordination Branch, fulfilling her duty with the Army Human Resources Command.
Along the way, Owens has earned several distinctions, such as the Army Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Action Badge and the Parachutist Badge.
After her retirement in 2017, Owens found more time to pursue community service and education. She is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia Southern University.
“I love learning,” she said. “I love staying relevant and knowing what’s going on, so I can be most useful.”
Throughout her time living in the Hardin County area, Owens has worked with a variety of regional organizations such as the local Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority chapter, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana, the Hardin County Democratic Woman’s Club, Kentucky Teen Court, the Louisville Urban League and the NAACP. She said retirement provided her with more time to commit to community service and activism.
“I said, ‘Now I want to give to my community full-out,’” Owens said.
On top of all of the community service she pursues, Owens co-owns a local catering business – Tabletop Cuisine – with her husband, Raymond.
Eying a run for Radcliff City Council, Owens was part of Emerge Kentucky’s 2018 class.
The Emerge Kentucky program is designed to increase the number of Democratic women from diverse backgrounds through recruitment, training and networking. The program offers a six-month, 70-hour training program for applicants who are accepted.
Other Hardin County residents who were part of the 2018 class include Democratic Woman’s Club of Kentucky President JoAnne Bland, Elizabethtown City Council member Julia Springsteen and local activist and WKU professor Donielle Heron.
“There were so many things we learned that you only learn from a program like that,” Owens said.
Winning her Radcliff City Council seat in November, Owens said some of her biggest priorities on the council include better code enforcement, development of the former Redmar Plaza shopping center, improved transparency with citizens and making the city more pedestrian friendly.
Owens said her leadership experience at Fort Knox and her continued correspondence with current instillation leaders will be great assets throughout her time on the council.
“I make myself available to stay in those talks so I can be relevant to help the city,” she said.