Friday, December 3, 2010


People reach places of influence in a number of ways.  Some are fortunate enough to be born into it... some work tooth and nail to reach a goal and then there are the others who have it "find" them.

Several years ago, 14-year old, Kelly Kilbride of Sac City, Iowa attended the funeral of her grandfather, Eugene Kilbride, an Air Force Veteran of the Korean War.  As part of the ceremony, taps were played via a taped recording, which signaled the final call to the funeral.  Both Kelly and her mother, Sandy, were bothered by this.  If only they had known a live bugle was not going to be used,  perhaps they could have arranged for someone to play taps.

Weeks later, Sandy was watching television and saw a feature about a bugler who played taps at military funerals. At the end of the video piece, there was information listed about an organization called, Buglers Across America, that was actively looking for future horn players.  Mother and Daughter quickly seized the moment, contacted the organization, filled out the paperwork, read the handbook and waited for Kelly's first call of duty.  A short time later, the opportunity came.

Kelly Kilbride Performing Taps For A Deserving Veteran

Looking back, the first experience Kelly had was incomparable.  "I think when the family saw me, they thought I was too young and probably wouldn't sound that good.  But when I started  playing, they were all impressed.  But gosh, I was nervous. I wanted to make sure that I honored their soldier in the right way", exclaimed Kelly. 

Kelly's story has some other interesting sidebars.  As a student at Carroll Kuemper, her school emphasizes service to the community.  I'd say she is well on her way to knowing and reflecting that characteristic.  In addition, when stories began circulating around the community to her bugling, one of the co-directors of the Carroll Area Symphony, Jackie Montgomery, informed her that she too was a Bugler Across America.  Small world.

Kelly plays mostly in her hometown area.  She has though, had requests from the Sioux City and South Dakota area, but schoolwork has made those travels impossible thus far.  However, the demand for this young bugler's services are spreading.  Tom Day, the founder of Bugles Across America, likens Kelly to a rising star.  "If you would ever make this bugling story into a movie or television show, the guts and determination in her work, makes her the highlight of the show",  he said .

This might be a good place to tell you a little bit more about Ms. Kelly Kilbride.  She suffers from rickets.  Yet that has not deterred her one iota.  She has weathered numerous surgeries and the use of crutches, walkers and wheel chairs to where she can now walk on her own.   The spirit she exudes has not gone unnoticed.  Peggy Dettman of Carroll nominated her for a  Red Cross Award in 2009 as a Hero of the Heartland.  Her story, her determination, her willingness to give back......won her the Youth Good Samaritan which Kilbride said, "anything is possible.   And I always have a great feeling afterward".

Fate found Kelly Kilbride two years ago.  She is experiencing moments in her life few teenagers realize at such an early age.  Bugle Organizers would like to see her come to an event in 2012, Taps 150 at Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, where she and scores of other buglers will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the bugle call.  I have a feeling this is just the beginning of something BIG....just wait and see if you don't hear more about Kelly Kilbride.   A true find.

Below you'll find a video produced by Screenscape Studios in West Des Moines that precluded Kelly's award from the Red Cross

Today, Bugles Across America has over 7,500 buglers in 50 states.  Recent figures from the Department of Human Affairs estimates that there will be one-half million veterans passing away every year in the next 7 years.  These buglers will no doubt be busy!!



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