BENEFITING: Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation
EVENT: Orlando 2016
EVENT DATE: Sep 10, 2016
Mary Gustafson wrote -
Firefighter Stephen Gerard Siller was the youngest of seven children born to Mae and George Siller. At the age of eight, Stephen’s father died, and a year and a half later he also lost his mother, leaving him an orphan to be raised by his older siblings. For a while Stephen went through a period of struggle, but thanks to the love of his siblings, and the values instilled in him by his parents, he grew up to be an extraordinary individual and dedicated firefighter. More than most, he knew that time was precious and accomplished much in his 34 years. 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 of the first plane hitting the Twin Towers over his scanner. Upon hearing the news, Stephen called his wife Sally and asked her to tell his brothers he would catch up with them later, and 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. Stephen had everything to live for; a great wife, five wonderful children, a devoted extended family, and friends. Stephen’s parents were lay Franciscans and he grew up under the guiding philosophy of St. Francis of Assisi, whose encouraging and inspirational phrase “while we have time, let us do good” were words that Stephen lived by. Stephen’s life and heroic death serve as a reminder to us all to live life to the fullest and to spend our time here on earth doing good – this is his legacy. Building for America’s Bravest is a program of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation that builds Smart Homes for our most catastrophically injured service members returning home. Each home is custom designed to address the unique needs of each individual. Energy efficient, automated and easily accessible—these homes use "adaptive technology" to help our most severely injured heroes live better, more independent lives. But as amazing as adaptive home technology is, it's far beyond the reach of most veterans and their modest pensions. The waiting list is long - and for every home we build, another three veterans join the list. When the call came, these brave service members went. They made extraordinary sacrifices in our place. Please help give them a home they can come home to. Your donation will make a real difference in a service hero’s life.