4 Florida First Responder Families have Mortgages Paid in Full, Kicking off Tunnel to Towers’ Season of Hope

The 4th Annual Season of Hope will deliver dozens of mortgage-free homes across the country

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s Season of Hope is returning for a fourth year, delivering mortgage payoffs and mortgage-free homes to America’s heroes this holiday season.

December 1st, the Foundation announced that it paid off the mortgages on the homes of four fallen Florida first responders, ensuring their families, who are facing the holidays without their loved ones, will always have a place to call home.

Tunnel to Towers paid off the mortgages on the homes of:

  • Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Special Operations Driver Operator Graeme Gilmour
  • Bureau of Prisons Senior Officer Justin Joslyn
  • Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joshua Welge
  • Customs and Border Protection Officer Richard McCoy

On June 28, 2021, Palm Beach County Fire and Rescue Special Operations Driver Operator Graeme Gilmour passed away after a short battle with an aggressive occupational cancer.

After volunteering as a firefighter in upstate New York, Gilmour moved to Florida in 2005 and started working for the Lighthouse Point Fire Department. About a year later, Graeme started his position with Palm Beach County Fire, working his way up to Special Operations Driver Operator and later leading him to Station 19 in Jupiter, Florida. He leaves behind his wife, Alisia, and their four children.

Bureau of Prisons Senior Officer Justin Joslyn passed away on September 11, 2021, from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty. He began his law enforcement career with the Department of Public Safety at the Pamlico Correctional Facility in North Carolina. He worked there for seven years before relocating to Florida to work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He leaves behind his wife, Chantel, and their three children.

For Chantel, Tunnel to Towers support meant that her family could stay in their home.

“When Justin passed, I had no idea what to do. I thought I was going to have to give up our forever home, uprooting my kids while they already grieved for so much. It was a weight lifted off of my family that has allowed us some stability, time for grieving and healing, and so much more. I will forever be in awe of the kindness, love, and generosity of Tunnel to Towers,” said Chantel Joslyn.

Sarasota County Deputy Joshua Welge died on October 21, 2021, from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty.

Deputy Welge’s law enforcement career began with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in 1999 as a Corrections Officer. He left to be a Police Officer at the Venice Police Department, and while serving there, he was on the Emergency Response Team. After five years, he returned to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. Upon his return, Welge was a Deputy Sheriff for 17 years as well as a Field Training Officer for new recruits. He is survived by his wife, Brandi, and their three children.

“Last October, our family was faced with the tragedy of losing my husband, Deputy Joshua Welge. Joshua and I had been together since we were sixteen years old. Alone and worried, I did not know how I was going to pay my mortgage and provide for our three children. Tunnel to Towers has shown our family that prayers can be answered,” said Brandi Welge.

Customs and Border Protection Officer Richard McCoy died on May 2, 2020, from complications related to contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty.

CBP Officer McCoy served in the Navy for 10 years before starting his career with United States Customs and Border Protection in 1997. He worked at various ports across the country, his final assignment was to the Fort Lauderdale/Port Everglades Port of Entry.

CBP Officer McCoy is survived by his wife, Helen, and their daughter.

In 2020, Tunnel to Towers started making mortgage payments for the McCoy family and has now paid off their mortgage in full.

“This holiday season, we honor those families who have sacrificed so much for all of us. To the families who are still grieving the recent loss of a loved one and to those who are enduring another year with an empty seat at the table, Tunnel to Towers is honored to celebrate your loved one’s service and ensure that you and your family can stay in your home forever,” said Tunnel to Towers Chairman and CEO Frank Siller.

Join us on our mission to provide mortgage-free homes to the heroes and the families they leave behind by donating $11 per month at T2T.org.

About the Tunnel to Towers Foundation

Born from the tragedy of 9/11, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation carries out its mission to “do good,” by providing mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children and by building specially-adapted smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans and first responders. Tunnel to Towers is also committed to eradicating veteran homelessness and helping America to Never Forget September 11, 2001. Visit T2T.org to learn more.

Follow Tunnel to Towers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



Trevor Tamsen