Tunnel to Towers Foundation Delivers 35 Mortgage-Free Homes to America’s Heroes in Tribute to Independence Day

35 mortgage-free homes are in 19 states, stretching from California to New York 

STATEN ISLAND, NY [July 2, 2024] –  As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation is honoring the spirit of freedom by bestowing the financial freedom of a mortgage-free home upon 35 deserving families.

Tunnel to Towers fulfilled the mortgage or provided a mortgage-free home to 34 fallen first responder families in 18 states and welcomed injured Mississippi Army National Guard Sergeant James “Carl” Sampson and his family to their new mortgage-free smart home in Picayune, Mississippi.

SGT Sampson enlisted in the Marines in 1987 after graduating high school. He dedicated four years to the USMC before joining the Mississippi Army National Guard. 

In 2003, SGT Sampson was retired from the Guard, working as a NASA Crane operator. When his cousin, Rodney, whom he had always served with, told him his old Battalion was set to deploy as part of America’s response to the 9/11 attacks, SGT Sampson re-enlisted with the Mississippi Army National Guard and deployed to Iraq with his cousin and the 890th Engineering Battalion. 

On September 12, 2003, SGT Sampson’s truck was hit by a buried missile set off by a cell phone. He lost his left eye and suffered a traumatic brain injury and multiple broken bones. 

As part of his recovery, he had a left craniofacial reconstruction and continues to deal with seizures and other medical complications to this day. 

The Tunnel to Towers Smart Home Program builds specially adapted smart homes to help our most catastrophically injured veterans and first responders live more independently.

For SGT Sampson and his wife Kelly, this new smart home shows that his service has not been forgotten.

When I met Carl, he had his awards in a box marked junk. He thought nobody cared. Today, seeing all of you here…shows that people do care,” said Kelly. She thanked Tunnel to Towers, saying, “The Foundation is phenomenal, the people are phenomenal, they help so many.” 

On December 12, 2022, FDNY Firefighter William Moon II fell twenty feet inside his Brooklyn firehouse during a routine drill. He passed away on December 20, 2022, after a final life-saving act of donating his organs. He left behind his wife, Kristina, and two children. 

Moon was a 21-year veteran of the FDNY and worked as a member of the fire department’s elite special operations rescue company. Along with working for the FDNY, Moon volunteered in his hometown with the Islip Volunteer Fire Department. 

Tunnel to Towers paid off the mortgage on his family’s Long Island home.

William’s wife, Kristina Moon expressed profound gratitude, stating, “I have always known the miracles Tunnel to the Towers has created for others.  While I never imagined I would be in this position, I am so grateful for the relief they have given our family during our darkest hours…My children and I will certainly pay it forward and carry on Billy’s legacy”

The Tunnel to Towers 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 or pass away from 9/11-related illnesses, and leave behind young children.

For more on the heroes honored with mortgage-free homes this July 4th holiday, go to T2T.org. You can join us on our mission to provide homes to our nation’s heroes and the families they leave behind 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