SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is providing support to the Ansari family and the Savannah community after Savannah Police Sgt. Kelvin Ansari was killed in the line of duty.
It has always been easy to be proud of the event WTOC helped bring to Savannah; never more so than in this difficult time.
“On behalf of the men and women of the Savannah Police Department, it really makes us proud to know that there are organizations such as Tunnel to Towers that are there for us and our families,” said Savannah Police Chief, Roy Minter.
The Tunnel to Towers Run came to Savannah out of a 10th anniversary series WTOC produced for September 11 - and interviews with the Siller family, whose brother Stephen was among 343 New York City Firefighters killed that day - and who were starting races across the country in his honor.
Initially, the event started as a way for people here to acknowledge and pay respect for an American tragedy that occurred in New York City, but it also made the national Tunnel to Towers Foundation a part of the local community, bringing the organization’s comforting hand to the Coastal Empire when we experience tragedy.
“Who’s paying those bills? That’s where the Tunnel to Towers Foundation steps in and says 'we’re going to make a difference,” said Jack Oehm, Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
Representatives of the foundation were here last week, presenting a mortgage-free home to the Katie Celiz, whose Army Ranger husband, Sergeant First Class Christopher Celiz, was killed in combat last July.
“Thanks to Tunnel to Towers, I no longer have to worry about maintaining a roof over my daughter’s head,” Katie Celiz said.
Just five days later, they were back, pledging the first $100,000 to pay off the mortgage of Sergeant Kelvin Ansari, the Savannah Police officer killed in the line of duty last weekend.
“Some families have a sense of service, and we have to take care of those who serve us, and this is a way of doing it,” said Frank Siller, CEO, Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
Tunnel to Towers is more than a race to Savannah. It is a relationship - with an organization that does good things across the country, and does them here when the need arises.
“We’ve done like 50 of these in the last couple of years, and sad to say, there are more that will have to be done."
That need was in Savannah this week. Thankfully, so was Tunnel to Towers.
The 2019 Tunnel to Towers Run Savannah will be held Saturday, Sept. 7 at Orleans Square.