This year, I decided to run in the Tunnel to the Towers 5K to raise money for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation (see below). This fundraiser is particularly close to my heart for a few reasons.
First: some of you may or may not know, my grandfather, Phillip Mirafuentes, was firefighter and eventually a batallion chief on Oahu. If he had been alive when The Towers fell, he would have been standing right along side FDNY aiding and rescuing survivors. So I run for him and all the past, present and future firefighters across our country.
Second: I had a ticket to fly back to Oregon to start my sophomore year of college on 9/12/2001. I had not idea how much the day before would impact me emotionally. 16 years later, I still cannot hold back tears as footage is show, as stories are recounted, and as how united the city became after tragedy. I think it was a big reason I decided to move to NYC 3 years later.
Last: Over the course of my life, I have met and been inspired by our country's military personnel. I have become great friends with a good number of them and a huge advocate for veteran support. I deeply respect and appreciateevery single one for every single thing they do to support and protect our country.
About the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation
The Siller Family started the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation to honor the memory of their brother, Stephen, a New York City firefighter (FDNY) who lost his life on September 11, 2001 after strapping on his gear and running through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers.
The goal of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is to continue Stephen’s legacy by supporting our nation’s first responders and service members. Building for America’s Bravest, a proud program of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, constructs specially adapted smart homes for our most catastrophically injured service members. In January 2015, the Foundation also raised over one million dollars to fully pay off the mortgages for the families of slain NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Luis Ramos.
The mission of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is to honor the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller, who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001. We also honor our military and first responders who continue to make the supreme sacrifice of life and limb for our country.
Please email NYC@Tunnel2Towers.org for answers to any other questions that we may not have addressed.