• Last modified 1152 days ago (April 28, 2021)


Proud dad plays 'Taps' for campers

Staff writer

Jeff Lilley, the proud father of a Marine veteran, has been honoring all servicemen by playing “Taps” at sunset.

He has ended every day this way since he began volunteering to play trumpet at military funerals.

He jokes that it “keeps him in shape” to serve, but every note sounds from his heart.

“I do it as often as I can when I am available,” Lilley said. “I’ve been doing “Taps” mainly for the American Legion family, but I have been asked by the National Guard to perform “Taps” at their services.”

Lilley jokes that he is “getting more and more booked up,” as musicians become hard to find.

“I think we have about 60 engagements we are doing this year,” he said.

Lilley, his wife, Susie, and his sister and brother in law, Kathy and Mike Saindon camp at Marion Reservoir two weeks a month every April, May, July and October.

The gang enjoys fishing and the quiet of the campsites at the reservoir.

“He still plays “Taps” every sunset,” Saidon said shaking his head.

The nightly ritual has drawn the attention of nearby campers.

Some veterans have expressed their appreciation and said his performance gave them chills.

Lilley’s son, Jason, served eight years in the Marines, four tours in Iraq, and was awarded the Silver Star for valor in combat.

Lilley vows to take his horn with him on a camping trip to the state fair this year so he can continue to ‘stay in shape’ when a military family needs him.

“We do not give our service people the tradition of a military funeral with anything but live music,” he said. “It needs to be done by the heart, so I’ll do my part that way.”

Last modified April 28, 2021