9/11 Exhibit raises funds for First Responders
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - New York firefighter Stephen Siller got off duty at 8 am the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. He planned to meet his brothers for golf that afternoon.
As he was driving home, the north tower got hit. Stephen turned back for the firehouse, grabbed his gear and drove himself to the towers.
When he got to the Brooklyn- Battery Tunnel, it was closed. He got out, put on his uniform and air pack, and ran 3 and a half miles through the tunnel to meet his squad at the south tower.
Stephen lost his life that day.
" A pile of rubble, a hundred and ten story building, now is only 6 stories, thats the pile how high it was...Every fire fighter just rushed and ran on the pile and just got down on their hands and just started digging , hopefully to try and find someone.” Bob Sapienza, Retired NY Firefighter, Rescue Company 3
To honor him and all the heroes that day, Stephen’s family started a foundation in his name.
“Everybody knew somebody...Unfortunately.”Billy Ferrara, Retired Firefighter NY.
The Stephen Siller foundation helps first responders, military and gold star families. The last Sunday of Sept. 2002, they held their first run, simulating Stephen’s trek through the tunnel to ground zero.
Since then, the charity run has grown from 15 hundred runners to 43 thousand in 2019.
“It’s a fund-raiser for us, because we build smart-homes for critically injured servicemen and women...we’ve built over 250 so far and we’re building 120 this year alone,” said Bill Puckett, Tour Manager, Stephen Siller, Tower to Tunnel Exhibit.
These specialty homes are built at ground level for accessibility and more.
“They choose a floor plan, and we purchase the land, we’ll start construction, and they’re part of the process up until 2 months prior to completion. Then we kick them out, next time they see it, its draped with an american flag, we unveil it to them, we dedicate it by raising the flag, and we hand then the keys to a mortgage free home,” said Puckett.
The foundation will also pay off the mortgage or renovate homes and they’ll start a college fund started for any child under the age of 16.
The foundation is set to help the people who sacrificed so much to help us so that they know we will never forget.
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