Eleven years ago, on 9/11, firefighter Stephen Siller ran through the Battery Tunnel with sixty pounds of gear on his back on his way to the Twin Towers to meet up with his own company, Squad 1. Stephen's life and heroic death serve as reminder that life is precious.
The Tunnel to Towers Run began as a way to honor Stephen and all 343 fallen firefighters, as well as the most severely injured post 9/11 veterans. On Sept 30th, we traveled Stephen's route once again, together with Team Semper Fi, as we remember his sacrifice and celebrate the lives of others who continue to make sacrifices for our freedom.
Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation now has programs to support children, fire fighters and our military. Upon seeing the need to help America's most severely injured veterans gain independence, Gary Sinise Foundation and Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation joined forces on a project called "Building for America's Bravest." This program provides custom designed SMART homes which address the specific individual needs of each recovering hero!
In 2010, Semper Fi Fund joined this fight for independence with a $20,000 grant to be used in the construction of a home for SPC Brendan Marrocco, from Staten Island, NY; the first quadruple amputee from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon crossing the threshold of his new home for the first time, twenty two year old Brendan said, "Finally, I can leave the hospital institution and go back to life. It's been a long time since I lived in Staten Island. I'm very grateful."
Now retired, Brendan is on the arm transplant waiting list and is considering joining Team Semper Fi after his arm transplant surgery.
Semper Fi Fund is honored to continue partnering with "Building for America's Bravest." Together we are providing independence for our most severely injured heroes with double, triple and quadruple amputations, as well as severe traumatic brain injuries.
So far, more than $400,000 has been committed to this project dedicated to gaining independence for injured service members who are still in the fight for recovery!
As long as there is a need, Semper Fi Fund will be there! Meet more injured heroes now enjoying their own SMART homes:
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Juan Dominguez: "Having this [SMART] house gives me my independence back. I no longer have to rely on others to help me."
SMART Homes are in progress for Marine Cpls Joshua Kerns and Todd Love and, in 2013, Semper Fi Fund will help with homes for six more severely injured heroes:
- Cpl. Mark Litynski, USMC
- Cpl. Michael Nicholson, USMC
- Staff Sgt. Thomas McCrae, USMC
- SSGT Travis Mills, ARMY
- EOD2 Taylor Morris, NAVY
- Cpl. Doug Vitali, USMC
Our mission is crucial and our duty is clear. Together we continue to serve our injured veterans who have sacrificed for our freedom. Want to help? You can:
2. Support our Tunnel to Towers Runners.
3. Help us raise funds and awareness about the needs of our injured heroes.
5. Register for a Tunnel to Towers Run near you.
Help these recovering heroes celebrate their new found independence. Please leave your well wishes in our comment section below.