CEO and Chairman of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Frank Siller, has been honored as the 2019 recipient of the Christopher Leadership Award.
The Christophers, founded in 1945 by Maryknoll Father James Keller, is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition of service to God and humanity. They are driven by the ancient Chinese proverb, “it’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” It is the 70th anniversary of the organization’s awards program.
Siller is being recognized for “the invaluable aid he brings to catastrophically injured veterans, first responders and Gold Star Families.”
The honor for Siller, announced in early May, is being presented alongside other Christopher Awards for winning film productions, broadcast TV and cable programs, and books for adults and children. The Christopher Leadership Award specifically recognizes individuals “whose work, actions and example serve as a guiding light to others.”
A year after the 9/11 attacks that claimed Stephen Siller’s life, the Siller family founded the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, to not only honor his sacrifice, but to do good in Stephen’s name.
With Siller as chairman and CEO, the Foundation has grown into, what The Christopher’s call, “a national force for good” for many groups in need. It builds specially adapted smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans, pays off mortgages for families of first responders who have been killed in the line of duty and builds homes for Gold Star Families whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country. Tunnel to Towers has raised over $125 million since it was founded.
“My parents had seven kids,” Siller said speaking at the award’s ceremony. “We were very poor, but we were never too poor to do something good for our neighbors.” Frank spoke about how his parents often quoted the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “while we have time, let us do good.” Siller and his siblings adopted those words as the Foundation’s mantra and driving motivation.
“I understand exactly each point they’re at because I lived it,” Siller said, speaking of the recipients of the Foundation’s programs. “After September 11, so many people were there for our family. It lifts you to know you’re not alone and that people care and are praying for you.”
“This is the message that we send to all these great families: we don’t want to just pay off their mortgage or build them a mortgage-free home or smart home. We want to be part of their lives,” Siller said. “They join us on our mission and are our greatest ambassadors, because they received it and they want to pay it forward.”