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Valhalla Resident Serving U.S. Follows Family Tradition

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Mike Tillson comes from a military family as both his father and grandfather fought in the Army. Following in the footsteps of his father Timothy, who is a retired Army Colonel, Mike enlisted in the Army and is a 2008 graduate of West Point.

“I kind of grew up with it with my grandfather he served in World War II and then my dad was in Vietnam,” Tillson said. “I’ve kind of always wanted to be in the military.”

Although he always had a pension for joining the military, one fateful day ultimately made up his mind.

“It just so happened that 9/11 happened when I was in 10th grade,” Tillson said. “That kind of just confirmed things with me.”

Tillson has been in the Army for over three years, but has already served a tour in Afghanistan where he was deployed for a year. Tillson, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, has also earned a bronze star for his services. Working and fighting overseas Tillson said he has seen the effects of the war firsthand.

“It’s very different, you can see the changes that we’re making,” he said. “You can see the progress we’ve made.”

Tillson is a Valhalla resident while his father grew up in Hastings, so the two were invited to speak at the Hastings Veteran Day ceremony on Friday. While Veterans Day is commonly associated with older members of the military, Tillson said he reflects on the day a little differently nowadays.

“It’s kind of taken on a little more meaning,” he said. “Part of it kind of stems from my friends who didn’t come home.”

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