Over the years, I have met so many dedicated and wonderful people that have inspired me to start this organization. Some of these people are still with us today, and sadly, some of them are not. Collectively, these people have all taught me that there are much greater things in life than one’s self, and that sometimes we need to make sacrifices to help others.
There are so many stories that I can tell, but I will instead dedicate this endeavor to the people that have inspired me the most.
Frank Siller is the founder and CEO of Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a nonprofit supporting military heroes, first responders, and their families.
Frank founded this great organization after losing his brother Stephen on 9/11. Firefighter Stephen Siller was assigned to Brooklyn’s Squad 1. On September 11, 2001 Stephen drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it had already been closed for security purposes. Determined to carry out his duty, he strapped 60 lbs. of gear to his back, and raced on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he gave up his life while saving others.
On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Frank decided to go on a 537-mile walk through Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and back to New York. When I heard about the news and saw Frank on TV, I almost broke down in tears! I was so touched and inspired.
Frank is such a compassionate and dedicated human being. I look forward to working with him on future fundraising events and supporting his wonderful organization.
Like Stephen Siller, Firefighter Christopher Pickford also gave up his life on 9/11 after saving others. Chris was assigned to Engine 201 in Brooklyn, NY where he lost his life on that tragic day.
A gentle giant, he stood at 6’5” and had a heart to match. Chris was known by all his friends as “Super” because he was such a super special guy. Chris and I were great friends in high school, and we continued our friendship and even played music together. Chris played guitar and wrote poetry. He was truly a talented guy. He had so much charm and charisma that it was almost impossible not to like him!
Chris died on 9/11 doing two of the things he loved the most; wearing his Firefighter’s gear and helping others. I still miss him today and dedicate this endeavor to him.
Gary Sinise is a talented actor and terrific human being. Who could forget Lieutenant Dan Taylor, Forrest Gump’s platoon leader during the Vietnam War in 1967?
Mr. Sinise’s devotion to supporting wounded and fallen heroes and their families, and veteran initiatives like Gold and Blue Star families, continues to be a true inspiration to me.
I have not personally met Gary, but I sure hope that I do someday. I will always support his organization and look forward to fundraising events on his behalf.
Natalie is my beautiful daughter and one of my greatest inspirations. Natalie is currently attending college at Rutgers University. But when she is not studying, or singing in her choir, or playing her piano, she is riding in the back of an ambulance.
In 2017 Natalie became a member of the first responder community volunteering her time at the Englishtown-Manalapan First Aid Squad. She devoted much of her time, studied very hard, and eventually she received her official EMT certification.
I am extremely proud of Natalie and her service to the community!
I also dedicate this endeavor to all of our heroes including the Service Men and Women of the U.S. Military, EMT’s and Paramedics, Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers everywhere in the USA.
I am proud and thankful to you all!
Thank you, God bless you, and keep on roaring!