Sergeant Joseph M. Lilly and Katrina Lilly-Allman
The Corporal Christopher Kelly Willis Foundation’s 2021 Scholarship Recipient is Alexander (“Alex”) Lilly. Alex is the son of American hero, Sergeant Joseph M. Lilly, and Katrina Lilly-Allman. Through the generosity of our corporate sponsors and individual sponsors, Alex will receive a future-use college scholarship intended to cover the entire unmet need of his college tuition and expenses.
Sergeant Lilly was born on September 22, 1986 in Flint, Michigan, the son of Michael Lilly and the late Lilla Lilly. In 2005, Joseph joined the United States Army, completing his Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and then completing his Advanced Individual Military Occupational Specialty Training as a Combat Engineer. Sergeant Lilly was stationed at Camp Casey, South Korea from 2005 to 2006. On September 7, 2007, Joseph married Katrina Frailey in Waynesville, Missouri. Sergeant Lilly was then re-assigned to Fort Leonard Wood. In 2009, Sergeant Lilly was assigned to the 18th Engineer Company, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
Sergeant Lilly deployed to Iraq in 2009 and on his second deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, was injured in combat operations on June 12, 2012 when attacked by an enemy improvised explosive device near Panjwai, a district in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan. Sergeant Lilly died two days later as a result of the injuries sustained. Only weeks before Sergeant Lilly’s death, he was hit by an enemy sniper’s bullet which resulted in a wound on his chin requiring stitches but Joseph believed so strongly in what he was doing and the mission at hand that he pushed his way back into battle. His aunt later said “He was just upset that he was sidelined”.
Sergeant Lilly’s personal awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Army Overseas Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Medal Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Army Service Ribbon.
Sergeant Lilly made the ultimate sacrifice and is a true American Hero. We are proud to honor his memory during this year’s Warrior Ride and appreciate your support in securing a collegiate future for his son, Alex, who we believe has also given the ultimate sacrifice. Alex is now a bright twelve-year-old young man. Alex loves to swim and hopes to be a computer developer when he grows up.