Tunnel to Towers Announces Six Mortgage Payoffs for Gold Star Families


At Never Forget Concert, Tunnel to Towers Announces Six Mortgage Payoffs for Gold Star Families and Nashville Fallen First Responder Jeff Carson

NASHVILLE, TN  On Friday night, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced it’s paid off the mortgages on the homes of country singer turned police officer Jeff Carson and five Gold Star families. The announcement was made during the Foundation’s Never Forget Concert at Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, Tennessee, which featured performances by Old Dominion, Brantley Gilbert, Darryl Worley, Lee Brice and Willie Shaw. Nearly 750 first responder and military families attended the invite-only concert.

Following a patriotic parade down Broadway, Tunnel to Towers President and CEO Frank Siller kicked off the concert by announcing the Foundation paid off the Carson family’s mortgage. Carson was an award-winning country singer and songwriter. He later became a police officer in Franklin, TN. In March 2022, Carson died of a heart attack. The Carson family attended the concert to accept the Foundation’s gift. 

Tunnel to Towers also announced it paid off the mortgages on the Tennessee homes of five fallen military heroes.

U.S. Army SPC Russell Shane Hercules Jr. was killed serving in Afghanistan in 2009. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart for his bravery and courageous deeds. He was just 22 years old and left behind his wife Victoria, his two children and two stepchildren. 

U.S. Army SGT Louie Ramos died in May 2011 from injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit in Afghanistan. Ramos received several awards while serving, including the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal, the Air Assault Badge, and the Parachutist and Pathfinder Badge(s).

He is survived by his wife, Yesenia, two children and a stepson.

U.S. Army SGT William Bernard McKenna, 41, died 3 days after Christmas in 2010, losing his battle with T-cell Lymphoma. It was less than a year after he came home from his second and final tour in Iraq. He is survived by his wife, Dina and his two daughters.

USMC Captain Travis Walker Brannon died in 2019 in a training accident. During his time served, he was awarded the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Brannon was 30 when he died. He is survived by his wife, Virginia, and his daughter.

Army Sergeant First Class Ofren “AC” Arrechaga died in a small arms fire in 2011 in Afghanistan. Arrechaga, who was born in Cuba, served for 10 years and accumulated an abundance of awards, including the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and many others. He left behind his wife, son, and daughter.

During the concert, Siller also announced new details regarding the Foundation’s Veteran Homelessness program, which is working to eliminate veteran homelessness throughout the country. The Foundation will be providing housing for over 500 veterans by the end of the year in three communities: Riverside,CA, Los Angeles, CA and Phoenix, AZ. As part of the program, the Foundation will be working with U.S. VETS and the American Legion to also provide comprehensive care, such as mental health and addiction services, and skills training. 

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.

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Caroline Magyarits — caroline.magyarits@t2t.org