CHICAGO (CBS) — Funeral services were being held Friday for U.S. Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, a Peoria native who was killed in a military raid in Yemen last month.
Senior Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens was stationed in Virginia Beach, and lived there with his wife and three kids.
Patti Smith, president of Peoria-based America’s Gold Star Families, said Owens’ extended family remains in central Illinois, including his cousins and grandmother.
“Ryan Owens and his immediate family left the area many years ago. The extended family, all things considered, they’re doing well. They’re very sad. They all have great stories and great memories of him. He did come back occasionally to visit,” Smith said. “They want to thank everyone for the outpouring of cards and notes that they have received.”
Smith said the cards have been sent to the America’s Gold Star Families organization, and she’s already given dozens of cards to the family.
“I will tell you they’re coming in daily. They have quite a pile already, and I’ve been taking them to them, and it’s been a great comfort,” she said.
Owens was 36. He died on Jan. 29, in a covert raid against al Qaeda in Yemen.
He was the first U.S. combat casualty since President Donald Trump took office in January.
The raid left nearly 30 others dead, including suspected terror leaders, and civilian women and children.
Anyone who wants to send a card to the Owens family can address it to:
America’s Gold Star Families
ATTN: Navy SEAL
6403 N. Talisman
Peoria, IL 61615
For more information, contact (309) 231-5090.