Tunnel to Towers Run
By Mr. Twisted
Stephen Siller was a man who ran towards the fire instead of away from it.
On September 11, 2001, Stephen was set to enjoy a day off by playing golf with his brothers. Instead, he heard what transpired at the Twin Towers and, being devoted to his work, drove his own car to meet his fellow firefighters who were already on scene at the World Trade Center.
At some point, through various accounts, it is believed that Stephen hooked up with his squad and began climbing one of the towers—running up while everyone else ran down. He and the other 10 members of his squad were all killed that day as a result of the tower collapsing.
In the wake of Stephen’s death, his widow and his siblings—all six of them—wanted to do more than just honor his life. They knew that Stephen was an incredibly special person who touched the lives of everyone around him and that his legacy was more than just being a hero on 9/11.
Out of that inspiration was born the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Since 2002, Tunnel to Towers has been holding runs to not just honor fallen heroes, but to celebrate those who choose to put their lives on the line for their community and country in America and abroad. The Siller family didn’t simply grieve their loss—they turned it into a triumph for those who make sacrifices every day.
And a triumph it has been.
Since its inception, the Foundation has established and funded college scholarships for children of US OIF and OEF Veterans; built a facility for orphans on Staten Island, aptly named “Stephen’s House”; created a relief effort for those affected by Hurricane Sandy, which it still maintains and will continue to be used for disaster relief purposes; and become heavily involved with the Gary Sinise Foundation in “Building for America’s Bravest”—an effort to build “smart homes” for severely wounded Veterans.
In other words, their commitment to the Veteran and First Responder community is nothing short of astounding.
And the coolest part is, they’re still growing.
This September, Tunnel to Towers will be holding runs all across the country to raise awareness for their projects and to celebrate those who run towards danger instead of away from it. Locations such as Cincinnati, Nashville, San Antonio, Columbia, Savannah, Mobile, Orlando, Vero Beach, and Ft. Lauderdale were all chosen because they either have Smart Homes under construction or are planned to begin in 2013.
Eleven of the runs in the Eastern part of the United States will culminate with the New York City run on September 29—an event that promises to be a truly amazing event, with the route leading to Ground Zero as its finishing point and followed by a post-run concert.
Knowing that friend of Ranger Up and Advisor to the Board of Directors at Gallant Few, Inc., Michael Schlitz, has been involved with Tunnel to Towers in the past, I asked him for his thoughts on the organization and the event. He responded very quickly by telling me that “after completing numerous runs throughout my military career, I have to say nothing compares to the Tunnel to Towers NYC 5K. It is by far the most inspiring run I have ever done. Seeing the photos of the fallen firefighters, the American Flags, and the surviving families lining the streets it is hard not to feel a deep sense of patriotism. You should not miss the opportunity to participate and I guarantee you will not regret it.”
Mike has a lot of exposures to various charity organizations in the Veteran community, so when he speaks highly of one, it should be understood that he knows what he’s talking about. He is the type of guy that wouldn’t get behind an organization unless they are absolutely top notch.
Take a few minutes to watch the video Mike and other wounded warriors contributed to and learn more about what this organization is doing at OurBravest.org.
Then go to the Tunnel to Towers website and find out more about how you can register for the NYC run or one of their other events around the country.
Sign up as an individual, sign up as a team, or just make a contribution in any way that you can.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is doing amazing things to help our Veteran and First Responder community. Whatever you are able to do to help this cause is money and time well spent.