CW2 Joshua M. Tillery
In 2009 two Kiowa helicopters went down in the early morning hours about twenty miles south of Kirkuk. Killed that day were four of the Army’s finest: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Matthew G. Kelley, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Benjamin H. Todd, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Philip E. Windorski, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Tillery.
Joshua was already the father of three boys. His wife was expecting their fourth son when Joshua’s helicopter went down. He was from Banks, Idaho, a small mountain town situated at the confluence of two branches of the Payette River. Among the locals, he was known for his smile, for helping others, and for his love of flying.
Like all Gold Star families, Joshua’s family was heartbroken. His father Steve, a Vietnam War veteran, resolved to turn his grief into something positive…and in the process keep the memory of his son alive.
Not long ago he created the CW2 Joshua M. Tillery Memorial Fund, dedicated to raising money for deserving veteran organizations. From their website: The CW2 Joshua M. Tillery Memorial Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works in partnership with the local community to help “bridge the gap” between what our veterans, active duty members, and their families need and what is actually provided.”
A couple of days ago the Tillery family hosted a clay shoot and cajun cookout, with proceeds going to some veteran organizations in the local area, including the severely wounded and injured student/veterans in the Wyakin Warrior Foundation.
Steve and LuAnn Tillery with the Wyakin Warriors
Hundreds of people showed up for the two events. Many were veterans; some were friends and supporters.
Wafting through the air was the sweet smell of cajun barbecue, mixed with laughter, music and the the delighted squeals of youngsters playing with crawfish flown in from the Gulf Coast. Beneath it all, flowing through the crowd like a warm Louisiana breeze, was something else.
It was the memory of the fallen Soldier in whose name we all gathered.
CW2 Joshua M. Tiller and his family are our heroes of the week.