Riley visits Owens House

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Owens House, Shelby County Children&8217;s Advocacy Center Inc., celebrated the expansion of its facility in Columbiana last Wednesday along with Gov. Bob Riley.

Also on hand were Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry, Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens, for whom the center is named, the center&8217;s board of directors, city officials, civic and community leaders and more.

Owens House provides counseling to children who are victims of sexual abuse.

Board President Trey Ireland said the facility was no longer large enough to meet the needs of the children it serves due to lack of space. He said with the expansion celebrated, there are 13-14 children now on a waiting list who will be able to receive counseling within a week or two.

Ireland recognized large contributors to the Owens House including the UPS Foundation and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. He also said support from city councils and mayor was the best ever.

Riley noted the explosion of the Internet and the need more than ever to protect children, which he called the most important treasure. He also noted that he had signed what he considered the toughest predator legislation.

Owens acknowledged the governor&8217;s administration for providing funding for the children&8217;s centers when non-state agency funds were being cut.

According to Helen R. Rardin, executive director of Owens House, the addition includes 1,200 square feet of space on two levels, 600 square feet upstairs and 600 downstairs.

There will be two counselor&8217;s offices upstairs and a large conference/meeting room downstairs.

&8220;In addition,&8221; she said, &8220;we have added a ramp, increased the size of the deck and added a handicap restroom. We are in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.&8221;

The Owens House staff includes Rardin, executive director; Winnie Lowe Davis, counselor; Amy Hancock Flowers, counselor; and Carole Robbins, administrative assistant.

The board of directors includes:

Ireland, president; Pelham Police Chief D. Allan Wade, vice president; Captain Curtis Rigney of the Alabaster Police Department, secretary/treasurer; Winifred &8220;Freddie&8221; Akridge, social work supervisor, retired; Sheriff Curry; Judy Gallups, accountant, Gallups Accounting & Tax Service; Deborah Grant Ph.D., professor, Graduate Counseling Program at the University of Montevallo; Ferrell Housley, businessman, owner The Coffee Shop & Newsstand; Billy Jones, branch manger, vice president of Regions Bank; Beverly Miller, principal, Vincent Elementary School; Chris Monceret, director, Shelby County Department of Human Resources; Mike Ousley, owner, CEO, Mike Ousley Productions; District Attorney Owens; Hoover Assistant Chief of Police A.C. Roper Jr.

The construction was also made possible by A-1 Brick, Sand & Mortar; Alside Siding; American Insulation; Bama Truss & Components, Brown Lumber & Building Supply; Central Builder&8217;s Supply; Drain-Right Guttering; Gallups Construction LLC; Gallups Electric; Havco Vinyl Siding; Home Depot-Highway 280; Hope Lumber, Keila Limbaugh; Mainline Heating & Air; Marvin&8217;s Building Supply; Moore Handley Inc.; Pactiv; Ready Mix USA LLC; Riverchase Carpet & Flooring; Sherwin-Williams; V & W Supply Company Inc.; Woodgrain Distribution and Yale Locks