Owens named chairman for Community Grief Support Service

Published 5:35 pm Monday, January 16, 2012

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens has been named Chairman of the board of directors of Community Grief Support Service, (CGSS).

Owens has been on the board since 2009 and has been active on the Program Committee, assisting the non-profit organization through three years of enormous growth.

Owens (Contributed)

“We are delighted to have Robby leading us,” said Carol McMillan, administrative director of the CGSS. “With his dedication and heart for helping the grieving heal, this will be an outstanding year!”

When Owens’ wife of 35 years died in 2007, he participated in an 11-week support group offered by CGSS. After his support group concluded, he continued to participate in a friendship group they had formed.

When he attended a CGSS-sponsored grief workshop led by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, he was amazed how much he learned. He wanted to share it with others so he went to the Center for Loss in Colorado and studied under Dr. Wolfelt. He is now a certified thanatologist — one who studies the phenomena of death and dying, especially their psychological and social aspects.

Owens also completed the CGSS bereavement volunteer training program and has shared his story of grief and recovery with other grief groups.

When asked why, he said, “Well, it is a hope of mine to be able to use the loss of my wife — and all the difficulties I have encountered on the journey to this point — in some beneficial way.” He concluded by saying, “. . . We are simply helping each other through what is the most difficult experience in life — at least for me.”

If you or anyone you know has recently lost a loved one, there is an upcoming grief support group coming to Shelby County. It is a 10-week program that will be held from Jan. 26-March 29 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Shelby County Instructional Services Center, located at 601 First St. South in Alabaster.

Community Grief Support Service offers these groups at no cost to the participants.

For more information on the grief support group visit Communitygriefsup port.org or call 870-8667.

Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident and writes a weekly column for the Shelby County Reporter. You can reach her at bethchapman@bellsouth.net.