After 31-year-old helicopter pilot, Chief Joshua M. Tillery was killed in Iraq, his unit made Killed in Action bracelets for fellow comrades and family members to wear.
He was one of four aviators killed in the attack and the aluminum bracelets are engraved with each soldier’s name: CW3 Phil Windorski, CW2 Matt Kelley, CW2 Josh Tillery, and CW2 Ben Todd.
“You know, I know it looks like just a plain piece of metal, but to those of us who wear it it’s worth diamonds and gold,” Joshua’s father Steve Tillery said.
That’s why Steve felt it was so important to help when he received a Facebook post from a Florida couple who found one of the bracelets buried in the sand while walking along the beach.
“The number of people that wear these bracelets is small, so when somebody loses a bracelet, everyone knows about it,” Tillery said. “I was pretty confident that we could find the owner, and within 24 hours we did.”
The Facebook post was shared more than 162,000 times by people all over the world. Quickly, the couple learned the bracelet they found belonged to Chief Matt Kelley’s younger brother, Chris.
Tillery gave the Florida couple Chris’s contact information, and they met up in Orlando to retrieve the bracelet Chris lost in the ocean while on vacation two years ago.
“He was pretty touched that this couple would reach out like that and that the Facebook community would step up like it did,” Tillery said.
Steve knows firsthand how important the bracelet is to loved ones. He has worn his every single day for the past five years.
Three years ago, Josh’s family started the Boise nonprofit organization, CW2 Joshua M. Tillery Memorial Fund, Inc. They work with other nearby organizations to provide assistance to local veterans and their families.
Click Here for more information on the Tillery Fund and their upcoming events.