WARSAW — A local woman has spent nearly 20 years of her life using her musical abilities, time and resources serving those who have been incarcerated in the Kosciusko County Jail and who have spent time at Kosciusko County Work Release.
In 1999, Peggy Owens, who resides in Winona Lake, began helping those who have been incarcerated through a jail ministry program. She began volunteering because she “really wanted an outreach.”
Owens’ official title is assistant chaplain, a role which entails playing keyboard during church services, leading Bible studies and simply talking with inmates.
Her service doesn’t end when she leaves the walls of the jail. Owens explains that often once individuals have served their time in jail they need help, whether it be with rides or a listening ear. Owens has driven individuals to the emergency room, to work or even to probation meetings.
“I’ve put a lot of miles on my car,” said Owens.
Since she began volunteering, Owens has built relationships with the women which have extended outside the walls of the jail and work release. After their release, Owens has let many women stay with her over the years. She’s opened her home to women for just a few weeks or even year, until they are back on their feet.
Owen says one of the great things about her volunteer work is seeing individuals find success in life after they leave jail. Though it is difficult watching many people struggle with addiction and repeat offenses, it’s rewarding seeing those who are able to overcome their struggles.
Owens’ day job has been as a proofreader and material coordinator at CE International for 26 years until she recently retired. She has three children, 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
She plans on helping out with the ministry for as long as she can, even if it is in a lesser capacity in the future.
“I felt I was called to do it.”