Kyle never quit. He poured himself into everything he did. From the time he was toddling around the house tormenting me to the day he volunteered for his last mission, Kyle committed himself completely to whatever he did.
After enlisting as an Infantryman in the Army at age 17, Kyle spent more than a year in Afghanistan. When we discovered that he was headed to another war-torn country soon after returning from his first tour, our whole family cringed. He wanted to go; he wanted to be part of the cause he believed in.
Kyle came home on leave and we had a wonderful family camping trip. We sat up at night talking, joking around and just enjoying each other’s company.
Six weeks later, he was gone. He’d volunteered to recover a Bradley Fighting Vehicle that was stuck in the mud. Kyle’s Humvee was struck by a deadly improvised explosive device, or IED. The three American heroes on his team, Spc. Eric King, Pfc. Jacob Allcott and Pvt. Michael Bouthot, were killed in action beside Kyle on that tragic day.
At the time, our family had a tough time gathering the money we needed to get everyone together for Kyle’s funeral. We were able to work it all out, but we started to worry that other families were facing the same types of difficulties.
On the day we buried my brother, we made a pact: we’d do anything we could to honor Kyle’s commitment and his memory. My dad, Jack Colnot, founded Our Fallen Soldier as an emergency assistance fund to help other families three months later.
We launched Our Heroes’ Journey in 2010. I started reaching out to wounded warriors close to home at Camp Pendleton. I’d bring cupcakes, be a shoulder to cry on, or do anything else I could to help these true American heroes who had given so much. The organization expanded until we reached the point we’re at today: we’re small enough to provide one-on-one, personalized help, and we want to keep it that way. I’ll always answer my phone and talk to someone who needs me.
Kyle’s love of the military and unwavering sense of duty for his country is what we hope to emulate through Our Heroes’ Journey. Through donations from people just like you, we’re able to help military kids, active troops and combat-wounded service members. We also run the Stand and Salute program to honor our veterans.
Our all-volunteer team helps by offering their time and gathering financial donations from individuals and companies. If you’d like to help, either through a donation or by volunteering your time, we’d love to have you.
We love you, Kyle. You’re always in our hearts, and your memory lives on through Our Fallen Soldier and Our Heroes’ Journey. Keep an eye on us—we’ll see you again soon.
Kelly Luisi, Founder, Our Heroes’ Journey