Letter to the Editor

The Legacy of Jeremy Owens

BY WBM Staff

Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue captain Jeremy Owens directs a team on its next task during the grueling Lifeguard Challenge in May 2012. WBM file photo.
Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue captain Jeremy Owens directs a team on its next task during the grueling Lifeguard Challenge in May 2012. WBM file photo.

The family of Captain Jeremy Poston Owens wants to express its gratitude for the outstanding article in the January issue of Wrightsville Beach Magazine (“Oh Captain. Our Captain.”). You captured the spirit of Jeremy’s life to be kind, humble and generous, as well as his passion for his work and this community. Wrightsville Beach and New Hanover County are fortunate to have such quality journalism, engaging articles, and compassion for community issues and support that Wrightsville Beach Magazine provides.

We are touched by the many calls and cards, and donations to the Wrightsville Beach Volunteer Firefighters Association in honor of Jeremy. We appreciate Oak Grove Technologies for their donation of Marine 81, which made a reality of Jeremy’s idea for a public safety boat that could be used by all three departments at Wrightsville Beach, the Police Department, the Fire Department and Ocean Rescue.

We are pleased to announce that Wrightsville Beach is now a member of the International Association of Firefighters. Jeremy and his brother, Nathan Owens, tried numerous times to get Jeremy into the IAFF Center of Excellence for treatment but continued to be turned down because Wrightsville Beach was not a member of the association. Thanks to the persistence of Sam Proffitt, Wrightsville Beach paramedic/firefighter and Ocean Rescue lieutenant, the paperwork was finally completed and approved.

This will allow Wrightsville Beach first responders to participate in the IAFF Center of Excellence, a center run by medical first responders to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, and suicide prevention.

More firefighters take their own lives nationwide every year than are killed in the line of duty. Several states have put legislation in place to support first-responder families whose loved one committed suicide.  

Suicide is a serious problem today and growing in numbers. Let’s take this as a wakeup call!

Take time to listen and to show love and support for those struggling. Your words matter.

We need to focus on suicide prevention. Remove the stigma. Suicide is nothing to be ashamed of nor judged. People that commit suicide are in real pain.

— Debbie Owens, Wrightsville Beach, NC


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