Legal office legacy

A dedication plaque, pictures, clips and comics outlaying the life of Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Owens hanging from a wall in the 13th District Legal Office within the Henry Jackson Federal Building in Seattle, Nov. 10, 2015. The wall memorializes the life and career of Owens, for whom the office was named and dedicated. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross.

A dedication plaque, pictures, clips and comics outlaying the life of Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Owens hanging from a wall in the 13th District Legal Office within the Henry Jackson Federal Building in Seattle, Nov. 10, 2015. The wall memorializes the life and career of Owens, for whom the office was named and dedicated. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross.

Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross.

A warm, inviting glow fills the room where friends, family and service members gather together. Spirits are on high as guests reminisce and swap stories of a truly inspiring, but regrettably fallen, shipmate.

This moment of heartfelt sharing took place during the official dedication of the Lt. Cmdr. Anthony R. Owens 13th District Legal Office at the Henry Jackson Federal Building in Seattle, Nov. 10, 2015. Owens, a pilot and military attorney, passed away in December 2014 after battling Lou Gehrig’s disease. The space was dedicated with the hope of giving those who did not know him the opportunity to learn about his life.

Across his 26 years of military service in the Navy, Naval Reserve, Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve, as well as throughout his retirement, Owens touched the hearts and minds of those he encountered and left longstanding memories that will be cherished for years to come.

“We’re honored to be here today to show at least a little bit of what he meant to all of us,” said Rear Adm. Richard Gromlich, commander, Coast Guard 13th District, during the dedication. “I can’t think of anything better than this space, where he lived his life, where he poured out what meant so much to him and impacted so many of us, dedicated to him.”

A cake presented at the dedication of the Lt. Cmdr. Anthony R. Owens 13th District Legal Office is pictured during the unveiling at the Henry Jackson Federal Building in Seattle, Nov. 10, 2015. The cake was made by Petty Officer 1st Class Jirasuda Doty, a food service specialist at Coast Guard Base Seattle. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross.

A cake presented at the dedication of the Lt. Cmdr. Anthony R. Owens 13th District Legal Office is pictured during the unveiling at the Henry Jackson Federal Building in Seattle, Nov. 10, 2015. The cake was made by Petty Officer 1st Class Jirasuda Doty, a food service specialist at Coast Guard Base Seattle. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross.

Out of all the admirable moments, compassionate stories and words of wisdom Owens left with Gromlich, there is one gift in particular that he holds dear, Owens’ ALS Advocate baseball card showing a picture of Owens holding his daughter years ago. For Gromlich, the card evokes the same wonder and adoration many feel for the heroes of their youth. Cards like this have been treasured for decades, the image on the front idolized as more god-like than man, fueling their holder’s passion for life and dreams for the future.

“The card that actually means the most to me is the one that Anthony gave me just over a year ago,” said Gromlich as he displayed the card to the crowd from within its protective casing. “I will cherish this forever.”

For Master Chief Petty Officer Charles Lindsey, command master chief, 13th district, one of Owens’ lasting impressions on him came about during a moment of guidance.

“There are a few times when a young junior officer will impart some words of wisdom on me and none of them have stuck the way Anthony’s did,” said Lindsey regarding his role handling his first non-judicial punishment case. “I called him up needing some advice.”

Lindsey was taken back as the young officer laughed at him, clearly hearing the frustration in his voice, before calming him down and walking him through the whole case.

“He really helped me throttle back,” added Lindsey. “He had such incredible wisdom, like an old soul.”

It was that mix of insight and understanding that led to Lindsey announcing Owens’ designation as an Honorary Chief Petty Officer as he handed over the official certificate to Sherri Owens, Anthony Owens’ wife.

“One thing Anthony was worried about, and I would laugh at him openly, was leaving a legacy,” she said as she addressed the crowd. “I would say he’s done that, and I would also say that he felt blessed. He was able to do what he loved, in an organization that he loved and come home to people that he loved.”

Now that legacy is captured and shared with all those who enter into the office Anthony Owens once called home.

Rear Adm. Richard Gromlich, commander, Coast Guard 13th District, holds his prized baseball card after the dedication of the Lt. Cmdr. Anthony R. Owens 13th District Legal Office at the Henry Jackson Federal Building in Seattle, Nov. 10, 2015. The card is Owens’ ALS Advocate card, which Owens himself gave to Gromlich. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross.

Rear Adm. Richard Gromlich, commander, Coast Guard 13th District, holds his prized baseball card after the dedication of the Lt. Cmdr. Anthony R. Owens 13th District Legal Office at the Henry Jackson Federal Building in Seattle, Nov. 10, 2015. The card is Owens’ ALS Advocate card, which Owens himself gave to Gromlich. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross.

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