Updated: Veterans advocate Gary Lillie killed by suspected drunken driver
Gary Lillie wanted to give veterans a voice and honor their achievements, his friends said.
Lillie, a U.S. Navy veteran who served during Vietnam, carried out that mission through Veterans Radio, a local weekly AM radio program he helped launch.
From Veteran's Radio
“He loved this country and those men and women that were willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice,” said Dale Throneberry, the show’s executive producer.
Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputies said Lillie, 70, was walking on Marshall Road in Scio Township at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday when he was struck and killed by a suspected drunken driver.
Deputies said the 43-year-old driver left the scene in a sport utility vehicle and called 911, saying he thought he had struck a deer. Investigators said the driver went to his Scio Township home, then returned to the scene, where witnesses were with Lillie.
Angela Cesere | AnnArbor.com
“It’s truly unbelievable that something like this could happen to him,” Throneberry said.
“You could depend on him for anything. He would really go all out for anyone that asked for help.”
Lillie, who lived in Scio Township, had worked in the Ann Arbor area as a commercial Realtor for many years, most recently operating an office affiliated with Sperry-Van Ness.
Matt Durr, who works for Veterans Radio and is a sports reporter for AnnArbor.com, said Lillie cared deeply about others. Durr worked on Saturday with Lillie, who talked about how much he was looking forward to meeting Durr’s 10-month-old daughter.
Lillie used the radio program to not only highlight accomplishments of veterans, but help them readjust to society.
“He wanted the youth to know people coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq deserve respect," Durr said.