Missy Owen was announced Friday night as the 2018 Woman of the Year by the Marietta-based liveSAFE Resources for her work in one of the nation’s most deadly and pressing issues - addiction.
The announcement was made during the 33rd annual Tribute to Women of Achievement celebration, which was held at the Cobb Galleria Centre and included more than 700 attendees from across metro Atlanta. The evening included a silent auction, dinner and program and raised more than $300,000 for the nonprofit, which provides programs and services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse.
Owen created the Davis Direction Foundation and The Zone to help those affected by the heroin and opioid crisis through assistance and treatment. She made this her life’s work after her 20-year-old son, Davis, died of a heroin overdose in 2014 despite being an honor student and president of his senior class, proving that addiction can affect anyone. Through The Zone and the Davis Direction Foundation, Owen spends endless hours spreading awareness throughout the community, working to fight addiction and fuel recovery.
Owen was chosen among the 15 women who were also honored as Women of Achievement for their contributions to their communities. The honorees, who were all inducted into the Academy of Women Leaders during the Tribute event, are leaders in business, nonprofit and volunteer arenas and live and/or work in Cobb, Cherokee or Paulding counties.
“I know you are looking down and I know you are proud,” Owen said, pointing to the sky in reference to her son.
The event was chaired by Kim Gresh and George Hartzog and this year’s honorary chairs were Marietta Mayor Steve “Thunder” Tumlin and Jean Alice Tumlin.
Also receiving an award during the event was volunteer Marcia Hair, who received the Pat Head Dignity Award for “Doing the Right Thing” when it comes to serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Hair has given thousands of hours of her time over the past five years for the purpose of giving victims their power back. During that time, countless victims who have had the opportunity to work with her have said that, due to her help, they were able to regain a sense of control from a situation that was spiraling out of control.
The evening’s guest speaker was domestic violence survivor Janet Paulsen. Paulsen is an advocate for liveSAFE and shared the harrowing story of surviving her ex-husband’s attempts to kill her after he shot her in their own driveway, and how she has found the strength to recover mentally and physically and help others in need.
Outgoing liveSAFE Resources CEO Holly Tuchman was presented with a diamond necklace in appreciation for her 11 years serving with the nonprofit. “I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life but this has been such a blessing,” she said.