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By Bev Odom/The Red River Sun
WELLINGTON — Just a casual conversation united a couple of veterans to mark Veterans Day 2020. With COVID-19 emerging across the county, school staff cancelled the Rocket Regiment’s patriotic performance and WHS’s traditional Veterans Day event.
Acquaintances from times past, a chance meeting of Bill Owens and Granvel Killian of Hollis at Cowboy Coffee the morning of Nov. 11 served as an opportunity for proprietor Kent Rollins to thank each for their service. Fans of Rollins see him express his appreciation for veterans as he flies the Stars and Stripes in every YouTube cooking video that he and wife Shannon produce.
Granvel Killian grew up in Collingsworth County and joined the Texas National Guard with several classmates as a junior at WHS. He graduated with the class of 1961 and served with the guard for three and a half years while attending Texas Tech University. He obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University in 1969. He practiced veterinary medicine in Hollis for 43 years, retiring in 2010. He and his wife, Vicki Glenn Killian, still live in Hollis but run cattle near Wellington.
Born and raised in Dodson, Bill Owens graduated in 1947 and joined the military. He served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force communications platoon of the 38th Infantry Regiment assigned to the 2nd Battalion in the Korean War. When their squad leader was killed in action in April 1952, Owens received his field promotion to staff sergeant at the age of 22.
After the cease fire July 27, 1953, Owens spent another five years serving at the special weapons atomic testing site in Sandia, N.M. He came back to Collingsworth County to farm following his father’s death. His wife, Rita Boen Owens, passed in October 2007.
Owens served as Post Commander of Glynn Moore VFW Post No. 6439 for 12 years, retiring in 2016. For his service, Sgt. Owens earned a Bronze Star Medal.
Messages of honor, respect and love are conveyed on Veterans Day to those who served in the U.S. military. Formerly Armistice Day, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the Act of 1938 to strike out the word Armistice and replace with Veterans in June 1954. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Nov. 11 became a day to honor all American veterans.