SGT Michael and Kelli Gower
Alexander Gower, 2022 Scholarship Recipient
The Corporal Christopher Kelly Willis Foundation's 2022 Scholarship Recipient is Alexander Gower. Alexander is the son of American hero, Sergeant Michael Gower, and Kelli Gower. Through the generosity of our corporate sponsors and individual sponsors, Alexander will receive a future-use college scholarship intended to cover the entire unmet need of his college tuition and expenses.
Sergeant Gower was born on June 17, 1983 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the son of Michael L. Gower and Patricia Russell. In 2003, Michael joined the United States Army, completing his Basic Training at Ft. Benning, GA and then completing his Advanced Individual Military Occupational Specialty Training as an Infantryman, also at Ft. Benning. Sergeant Gower was assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Infantry Division, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, located at Joint Base Lewis- McChord, Washington
On December 27, 2004, Michael married Kelli Reil in Kalamazoo, MI.
SGT Michael Gower
Sergeant Gower deployed to Iraq, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, in October of 2003 and in June of 2006. On his second deployment to Iraq, Sergeant Gower was injured in combat operations in Baghdad on August 2, 2007 by an enemy improvised explosive device. Three soldiers were killed instantly, one succumbing to his injuries seven months after the incident, and three (including Sergeant Gower) sustaining critical injuries. Sergeant Gower's injuries included two broken ankles, shattered heels, a broken tibula and fibula, a broken hip, an L1 spinal burst and traumatic brain injury with a closed head fracture.
Sergeant Gower's personal awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal w/ Device, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct 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 Gower 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, Alexander, who we believe has also given the ultimate sacrifice. Alexander is now a bright twelve-year-old young man. Alexander loves to play baseball, football, fish and hopes to be a mechanic or soldier like his father when he grows up.
Alexander, the Willis Foundation wants you to know that your father is an American Hero!