Welcome Troy Owens, Our Newest Board Member


Troy is a partner in the Illinois law firm of Owens & Laughlin LLC. He was admitted to practice law in 1991, and immediately accepted a position as a prosecutor in the Boone County State’s Attorneys Office. He was promoted to the position of First Assistant State’s Attorney in 1993, where he became responsible for all levels of felony litigation in Boone County. In this capacity, Troy was able to focus the SAO’s prosecutorial efforts in crimes against children. He authored the Boone County Multidisciplinary Protocol for the Investigation of Child Abuse, integrating the statutory enabling functions between the SAO, jurisdictional law enforcement, DCFS, and associated critical third party entities. His heart for the abused has grown to include women who are trafficked and exploited.

Troy left government practice in 2004. He entered private practice, where he practices personal injury litigation, as well as securities and commercial litigation.  As a part of his personal injury practice, he still remains engaged in child abuse cases on behalf of child victims.

Troy is a proud father of two beautiful daughters, Callie and Chloe Owens.  He is getting married in 2018 to Karen Russell.  Troy is an enthusiastic member of Willow Creek Community Church in Huntley.

We are so excited to welcome Troy’s heart and expertise to our Refuge board.

What Safety Means to Me


Safety is being able to breath deeply

without the all too familiar hesitation

of an unwelcoming wasp that I have

grown to know for as long as I can remember.


Safety is not flight or fight.  Nor is it flee.

It's the warmest blanket you own

wrapped around you like a cocoon.

It is unapologetic security.


Safety is warm and tender like a mother's embrace.

It's like the way the moon is nestled in the sky

with all of the stars surrounding her. 

Protecting her.


Safety is the first drop of rain

after a lifetime consumed with drought.

It's watching all of my fears disintegrate

in the palms belonging to God.


Safety is running through a field of dandelions

without having to look behind me for danger.


Safety is carefree.

Meet Our New Board Member

Barb Wheeler.jpg

Refuge for Women is so happy to announce that Barbara Wheeler has joined our board.  She has spent her entire adult life in public service, starting as volunteer for the United States Peace Corps. She later served as a school teacher at Wauconda Middle School and was elected to the McHenry County Board in 2002. 

In 2012, Wheeler was elected to represent the 64th Legislative District in the Illinois House of Representatives.  Rep. Wheeler has focused on the needs and priorities of taxpayers and families in Lake and McHenry Counties. Currently, she is serving her third and final term as State Representative. These last 4 years in the Illinois General Assembly, it is her number one priority to combat this public health crisis of modern day slavery. She has been the chief sponsor or co-sponsor of many of the anti-trafficking bills in the Illinois General Assembly.

Wheeler received her B.A. in Education from Loyola University and a Master’s in Education, Language, and Literacy from National Louis University.  Representative Wheeler, her husband Joe and their five children have lived in Crystal Lake since 1998.  They are active members and volunteers at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church.