Tunnel to Towers Foundation Delivers 22 Mortgage-Free Homes to America’s Heroes

In observance of the 22nd anniversary of the September 11th attacks Tunnel to Towers Foundation is delivering 22 mortgage-free homes to America’s heroes

In recognition of the 22nd anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has delivered mortgage-free homes to 22 of America’s Heroes and the families they leave behind. 

Tunnel to Towers Foundation paid off the mortgages for:

  • Eleven first responders who lost their lives to 9/11-related illnesses
  • Five first responders who lost their lives to COVID-19 contracted in the line of duty
  • Four first responders killed in the line of duty
  • One catastrophically injured first responder
  • One catastrophically injured veteran

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s Fallen First Responder Home Program pays off the mortgages for the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty, pass away from 9/11-related illnesses, and leave behind young children.

“Today we honor the 2,977 lives lost when America was attacked. Tunnel to Towers has vowed to Never Forget the first responders, like my brother, who ran toward burning buildings 22 years ago and gave up their lives to save others. Today we honor the sacrifices made by first responders every day since 9/11. The heroes who are willing to face down any danger to keep us safe, from breathing toxic dust at Ground Zero, responding during a global pandemic, and the unknowns that await them every time they answer an emergency call,” said Frank Siller, Chairman and CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

New York City Police Department Mounted Unit Police Officer Francis Gaynor came from a law enforcement family. He attended the police academy in 1995, where he met his future wife and fellow officer, Lori. He was diagnosed with Bile Duct Cancer attributed to his service at Ground Zero on September 11t, 2020. He received a liver transplant in February of 2021. In March of 2022, his cancer returned. He spent 10 months fighting until he finally succumbed to his illness on January 18th, 2023.

“Having my mortgage paid off allows my family to concentrate on mourning our loss and attempt to get used to our “new normal”. It also helps to know that my children are able to stay in their family home for as long as they like…Even though Frank was called “home”, I feel that he is still able to take care of his family,” said Lori Gaynor.

On June 21, 2022, Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office Deputy 1st Class Austin Aldridge was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call.

Just two days before he lost his life, Austin and his wife Jessica found out they were expecting. In a private ceremony, Tunnel to Towers welcomed Jessica and her infant daughter into a mortgage-free forever home in South Carolina.

“I am surprised and thankful that a foundation like Tunnel to Towers exists! The generous gift of a home means security and hope for a future with Claire. We will make new memories while remembering those that willingly fight for our freedom and safety, as Austin did,” said Jessica Aldridge.

To learn more about the 22 families who received mortgage-free homes and the families they left behind, visit T2T.org.  Please consider joining us on our mission to provide homes for these America’s heroes by donating $11 per month.

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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Trevor Tamsen — Trevor.Tamsen@t2t.org