Willis Foundation 9th Annual Warrior Ride

KALAMAZOO, Mich., May 13, 2014 The Corporal Christopher Kelly Willis Foundation (the “Willis Foundation”) announces its 9th Annual Warrior Ride. This year’s 250+ mile ride will take place Thursday, September 11th, through Sunday, September 14th. The ride commences in Manistee, MI, and travels through Grand Haven and on to Fort Custer National Cemetery in Battle Creek where Corporal Willis is buried. The riders continue to Bronson Park in Kalamazoo where they will stop briefly to be joined by our ‘Last Leg’ riders who will travel with the Warrior Riders to the Kalamazoo Country Club. At the Kalamazoo Country Club a reception for the riders, families, guests, dignitaries and service members will be held at 1pm on Sunday, September 14. Proceeds from the ride will benefit the Willis Foundation’s long-term program to fund college scholarships for children whose parent has died while serving in a combat zone, or whose parent has been permanently disabled in a combat zone. This year’s recipients are Chloe Mills, daughter of Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, and Zekiah Thrailkill, son of Corporal Robert Lee Thrailkill, Jr.

Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne was critically injured on his third tour of Afghanistan in 2012. Travis was injured by an IED while on patrol, losing portions of both legs and both arms. He is one of only five quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive his injuries.

Travis graduated from Vassar High School in Vassar, Michigan. He devotes his time to the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit organization that he formed in 2013 to benefit and assist wounded and injured veterans. During the year, Travis travels nationally where he speaks to companies and organizations, inspiring all to overcome life’s challenges and adversity. His motto is “Never give up. Never quit.”

Corporal Robert “Bobby” Lee Thrailkill, Jr. was on his first deployment in Iraq when he was injured by an IED during a foot patrol. He sustained serious injuries and suffered the traumatic amputations of both legs above the knee. He was only 19 at the time. Bobby is originally from Pentwater, MI and currently lives in Grand Haven, MI with his three-year old son Zekiah.

The Willis Foundation is honored to support these two incredible families who have sacrificed so much and continue to give back. For more information please contact Brooke Hovenkamp

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