In just over a month we will be running the NYC Tunnel to Towers 5K as we retrace the footsteps of FF Stephen Siller running through the the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel ( Hugh L. Carey Tunnel) to the World Trade Center to raise money for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Our team will be running/walking in memory and honor of my dad, Lt. Joe Leavey.
On September 11th, my dad heroically perished truly doing what he loved- saving others and leading his men. As I listen to my dad on the tapes, as he led his company to the 78th floor (one of the only companies to reach an impact zone) I hear his calm, collective voice as he helped numerous injured civilians and led his men to what I can imagine into a frightening situation. One thing I remember about my dad is his persistence. I know on that day he was ever so persistence to find the best possible solution to get everyone to safety. With a background in engineering, we knew without a doubt he knew all the nooks and crannies of the Twin Towers, which happened to be his favorite buildings. It was never a dull moment exploring NYC with my dad, NYC was his playground and visiting different skyscrapers was a passion of his. But most of all, family and community meant the world to him. While I wish he was able to come home to me that day, I know he allowed many men and women to return home to their families. More so, he left a mark on many of communities he touched, specifically his firehouse “family.” The firehouse became a “second home” for my family and I, as my dad loved bringing us to his “second home.”Almost 18 years later, I’m grateful for not only the inspiration my dad was to me (and others) but the teacher. My dad truly lived every day to the fullest, something I try to remember day in and day out- that life is short and it so valuable to love/connect and shine your light onto others. My dad was the embodiment of facilitating, creating, and participating in community. And thus, I couldn’t be more inspired and ecstatic to honor my dad by serving as the Vice President of the Young Professionals Group for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, an incredible organization that represents and embodies community. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation stands by their commitment in helping first responder and military families through tragedy and loss in the most authentic and dedicated way as they honor our nation’s heroes AND families. To date they have:Raised over $100M to fund their In the Line of Duty Programs, as well as support communities during natural disasters Delivered, started construction on, or is in the design stage of 75 smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans via the Foundation’s Smart Home Program Through their Fallen First Responder Home Program has given over $10M since 2015 in order to provide mortgage payoffs for more than 30 first responder families with young children More than a dozen families have been given new homes through the Foundation’s latest program, the Gold Star Family Home Program
Over 93% of their expenses go directly to programs, meaning over 93 cents of every dollar goes directly to program services. The Foundation also has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the country’s largest and most utilized independent evaluator of charities.
On September 29th, I hope to show some of the same persistence that I learned from my dad as our team retraces the footsteps of FF Stephen Siller. Your support will not only help a great Foundation continue on its mission, but will serve as motivation and support as we complete this journey together. Thank you again for supporting my team and I on this journey!
About the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers FoundationThe Siller Family started the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation to honor the memory of their brother, Stephen, a New York City firefighter (FDNY) who lost his life on September 11, 2001. The Foundation was built upon the mantra, “while we have time, LET US DO GOOD,” and continues Stephen’s legacy by supporting our nation’s first responders and service members.Firefighter Stephen Siller lost his life while saving others. In his memory, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation developed the In the Line of Duty Program to honor the heroes that risk their lives every day. To date, the Foundation has spent over $100 million supporting the military and fallen first responders and their families. Our newest addition, the Gold Star Family Home Program, honors those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country by providing the surviving spouses and young children with a brand new, mortgage-free home.The Smart Home Program provides mortgage-free smart homes to our most catastrophically injured service members. Each home is custom designed to address the unique needs of each individual.Finally, the Fallen First Responder Home Program pays off the remaining mortgages for families left behind when a firefighter or police officer is killed in the line of duty. Upon hearing news of the tragic loss of a first responder, Tunnel to Towers deploys a rapid response team to immediately provide support to the family.Your hard work on behalf of the Foundation helps us provide the support the families of our military and first responders so desperately need.