The Siller family’s motto of “never forget by doing good” has been adopted by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, and is the guiding force for all of the work that we do through our Building for America’s Bravest program, our Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk Series, and all other endeavors. Sticking to this simple mantra has enabled the Foundation to touch the lives of many people across the country, and to become a highly-regarded national foundation.
We are excited to share another example of a 9/11 family turning tragedy into triumph inspired by the work of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Please meet John & Stella Herold! John & Stella have joined the T2T team as race directors for the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk in Phoenix, Arizona! Below please find John and Stella’s story as to why they decided to volunteer with Tunnel to Towers.
Growing up in New York, I lived across the street from a firefighter and police officer. I saw these brave men not as police officer or firefighter; I saw them as neighbor, father, brother and just good people from the neighborhood. Their job did not define them. Their character did. To me, they were just good neighbors.
As a kid, you tend to see the surface. As an adult who grew up with these “good neighbors,” I was rudely awakened by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. I saw these same men and their kind for who they truly were. People of great heroism, selflessness, and kindness rarely exhibit these traits for public view. It’s their mission, I believe designed at birth, to be chosen to be their brother’s and sister’s keepers. You see, the hero who lives next door keeps a low profile. However, let there be no doubt that in time of need, they will be the first to arrive and the last to leave.
On September 11th, 2001, My brother, Gary Herold, was working for AON Insurance on the 98th floor of the South Tower. Gary was last seen assisting with the evacuation along with Eric Eisenberg, a coworker. All of the AON employees on the 98th floor survived except for Gary and Eric. It was assumed that the second plane hit the tower as Gary and Eric were in the area of the impact.
As I watched the day’s events unfold and saw the police and fire officials assisting and ultimately losing their lives to help others, I was so devastated to think of all the lives lost. All the families, friends, and neighbors that might have been lost… it was difficult to comprehend.
Firefighters like Stephen Siller ran into the towers to save people like my brother. First responders like Stephen Siller were able to recover my brother’s remains. I am forever grateful. Recently, my wife Stella and I were asked if we would be interested in becoming race directors for the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk race here in Phoenix, Arizona. I had already heard about the Foundation and its tremendous efforts to assist first responders and our military.
My wife and I did not have to think long about the decision. We were on board immediately! The opportunity to “do good for others” was not just a good idea, it satisfied a yearning to help, to give back and let our military and first responders know how much we really appreciate them; to make them aware that we are here for them in their time of need. We have a saying in our family since 9/11, “To grieve is a tribute. To remember a blessing. To overcome and help others, a victory in the eyes of those we have lost.”
Stella and I are so proud to be a part of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation! We are learning the ropes of setting up the event here in Phoenix and we look forward to working with all of you to assist all those who are always vigilant to help us, our military and first responders.
John & Stella Herold
Phoenix Tunnel to Towers
Thank you, John and Stella, for bringing the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation out west! With your help, we will be able to touch many more lives with our mantra to “never forget by doing good” and therefore, continue to have great success in supporting our first responders and military heroes! Looking forward to a great event in September! Welcome to the T2T team!
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is so proud to be expanding the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk Series during this year’s 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001. Through this expansion, we will continue to spread the message to “never forget by doing good” – something that continues to be important to the Foundation as we move further and further away from 2001. Thank you to all of our supporters who help make this expansion possible!
For questions regarding the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk in Phoenix, please email John and Stella at firstname.lastname@example.org.