On September 11, 2001 I was a sophomore, sitting in a word processing class at Duluth High School. My teacher, Mrs. Tomassini, was walking the row behind me, when another teacher came into the classroom and said something about a plane crash. My teacher immediately went into a panic. I overheard her say that she had just talked to her husband as he was boarding his flight out of New York about 20 minutes prior. She turned on the TV in the classroom and suddenly not one student had a care about the computer in front of them. The rest of my day unfolded in much the same fashion as it did for millions of others at school, work, and at home all around the world. However, that day was drastically different for Stephen Siller and 342 other FDNY members.
On September 11, 2001, Stephen, who was assigned to Brooklyn’s Squad 1, had just finished his shift and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he got word over his scanner of a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Upon hearing the news, Stephen called his wife Sally and asked her to tell his brothers he would catch up with them later. He returned to Squad 1 to get his gear.
Stephen drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it had already been closed for security purposes. Determined to carry out his duty, he strapped 60 lbs. of gear to his back, and raced on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he gave up his life while saving others.
Seventeen years after the towers fell; ten years in the Army, one deployment, and one on the near horizon; and four years in the fire service later, here I sit at Station 1 on Hilton Head Island. As I have seen the effects of that September day from three different perspectives, it has left a profound impact on my life.
On September 8, 2018 I will be participating in the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K in Savannah. I will be completing the race in my bunker gear in memory of the 343 FDNY, 71 Law enforcement officers,, and 2,878 civilian lives that were lost as a direct result of the attack on our country. I will also be carrying an American flag in remembrance of the 6,957 service members that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11.
I write all of this to encourage you to make a donation to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. 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. As of 2017 The Foundation has allotted over $3.2 million in funding to support the families of first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty. After hearing the devastating news of the death of a first responder under extraordinary circumstances, the Tunnel to Towers deploys a rapid response team to provide support to the family and to begin fundraising to ease some of their financial burden. For more information about The Foundation, visit www.tunnel2towers.org
With such a short time until the event, I am hoping to raise $500 to support this great foundation. Any dollar amount you can donate is greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read about why this cause is so near to my heart. Thank you in advance for your support.