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The Tunnel to Towers Foundation has been helping first responders and their families since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and is now providing critical relief to front line COVID-19 workers. By the end of next week, the foundation will have delivered over 250,000 masks and gowns to the medical community courageously battling the coronavirus pandemic.
“We know about people who serve and sacrifice, and that brings us right to what is going on in America today. The front line healthcare workers who go to work every single day and put their lives in jeopardy to take care of those who have COVID-19, therefore, our foundation realized that we better take care of them," Frank Siller, the founder of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation told Fox News.
Siller established the Tunnels to Towers Foundation in honor of his late brother, Stephen Siller. Stephen, a firefighter, had just finished his shift when he got word of a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center. That’s when Stephen drove his truck to the closed-off entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, strapped 60 pounds of gear to his back, and raced through the two-mile tunnel to the Twin Towers. Stephen lost his life at the World Trade Center while saving others.
Understanding the impact of losing a family member, Siller explained that The Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s COVID-19 fund supports the sacrifice of both front line workers and their families. He said the fund is purchasing critical personal protective equipment (PPE) while also making mortgage payments for health care workers who die on the frontlines and leave families behind. Siller told Fox News that the foundation has put up $3 million to begin covering the PPE and mortgage payment efforts.
“We put a million dollars on the side for mortgage payments to alleviate pressure for these families of front line health care workers, and the other money will go towards the PPE equipment,” Siller said. “We're also driving around and feeding many health care workers.”
Siller explains that individuals can donate to the foundation’s widespread efforts at tunnel2towers.org. Those who want to donate can also purchase "One For All" T-shirts made by UFC superstar Conor McGregor’s Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey with 100 percent of proceeds going to the Tunnel to Towers COVID-19 Heroes Fund.
Proper No. Twelve co-founder Ken Austin told Fox News that his company has been making a commitment to give back to first responders since its founding.
“When Conor, Audie and I founded Proper No. Twelve Whiskey, we talked about first responders around the world and how they epitomize what ‘One For All’ really means, sacrificing themselves every day for all of us,” said Austin. “When determining where the money should go in the United States, we met Frank Siller and his team from Tunnel to Towers and were incredibly moved by the foundation, and its purpose.”
Austin and the Proper No. Twelve Whiskey team have already sold thousands of ‘"One For All" T-shirts and pledged to continue to do so for the entirety of 2020. The T-shirt sales are in addition to a separate donation of $1 million dollars in early March to Tunnel to Towers and then an additional $100,000 to the foundation’s COVID-19 fund.
Siller added that the consequences of the fight against COVID-19 will resonate long after the curve is flattened and that he plans on being there for those who sacrificed.
“These front line health care workers are willing to die for you and for me,” said Siller. “As Americans, we better take care of them, and we're doing that relentlessly here at the Tunnel to Towers foundation.”
Emily DeCiccio is a reporter and video producer for Fox News Digital Originals. Tweet her @EmilyDeCiccio.