SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -In September, Savannah will host its 8th Tunnel to Towers Run, an event that’s as physically refreshing as it is emotionally.
One of the legacies of Savannah’s Tower to Tunnel, aside from the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised, has been the 343 school children lining Forsyth Park at the race every year, each one holding a photo of a firefighter killed on 9/11.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation was created to honor Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter who ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center on 9-11. Siller was one of the 343 firefighters killed when the Twin Towers collapsed.
Initially, the money from our races and dozens of others across the country was used to support the families of firefighters who were killed in the line of duty. As the years progressed, they expanded their reach to include servicemen who returned home from the War on Terror with catastrophic injuries and Gold Star families.
Last week, representatives of Tunnel to Towers came to Savannah and dedicated the mortgage-free home they provided to the family of Sergeant First Class Christopher Celiz, the Hunter Army Ranger who was killed in combat in Afghanistan last July. Chris’ widow Katie and 8-year old daughter Shannon took possession of the home that day at a dedication ceremony attended by several members of the 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Division who served under Chris.
Consider this: If something happened to you like what happened to the Celiz family the only thing that would matter is whether your loved ones can continue on and maybe even have a life that’s as secure as it can be without dad or mom being around.
That’s what the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has done for the families of 75 wounded veterans, in addition to the gift of mortgage-free homes to dozens of Gold Star Families and the loved ones of families of first responders killed in the line of duty.
Not just a tribute (though they certainly deserve that) but a meaningful contribution to the lives of the children who must build a life without the heroes who risked their lives daily to save ours.