Non-Profit Spotlight: Tunnel to Towers Foundation

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As a military veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces, our founder Ezra Shore discovered a dog was his salvation for managing his PTSD. Realizing what a powerful gift a dog can give us, we wanted to pay it forward to all working dogs. To continue paying it forward, Honest Pets works with various veteran and working dog organizations to help give back.

Every purchase on our website helps us pay it forward to support fellow working dogs and their first responder owners. We support veterans, service dogs, and first responders around the world. We do this by donating a portion of all of our proceeds to organizations that help these individuals. Each month we will spotlight one of these amazing organizations.

Photo Credit: Tunnel to Towers Foundation

Tunnel to Towers Foundation

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation honors the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001.

Firefighter Stephen Gerard Siller was the youngest of seven children born to Mae and George Siller. At the age of eight, Stephen lost his father, and a year and a half later his mother passed away, leaving him an orphan to be raised by his older siblings. For a while, Stephen went through a period of struggle, but thanks to the love of his siblings, and the values instilled in him by his parents, he grew up to be an extraordinary individual and dedicated firefighter. More than most, he knew that time was precious and accomplished much in his 34 years.

On September 11, 2001, Stephen, who was assigned to Brooklyn’s Squad 1, had just finished his shift and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he got word over his scanner of a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Upon hearing the news, Stephen called his wife Sally and asked her to tell his brothers he would catch up with them later. He returned to Squad 1 to get his gear.

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.

Stephen had everything to live for; a great wife, five wonderful children, a devoted extended family, and friends. Stephen’s parents were lay Franciscans and he grew up under the guiding philosophy of St. Francis of Assisi, whose encouraging and inspirational phrase “while we have time, let us do good” were words that Stephen lived by. Stephen’s life and heroic death serve as a reminder to us all to live life to the fullest and to spend our time here on earth doing good – this is his legacy.

Since its inception, the Foundation has been committed to practicing sound fiscal management, organizational efficiency, and program integrity. Tunnel to Towers keeps fundraising and administrative costs at a minimum, with only a small percentage of funds allocated to overhead expenses. For the past several years, the Foundation’s program service percentage on average was 93% – 93 cents out of every dollar goes directly to our programs and services. Program service ratio is a key barometer used to measure operating effectiveness. The organization’s Chairman and CEO, Frank Siller, is an uncompensated volunteer. For seven years running, the Foundation has achieved the highest rating, four stars from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities.

In the Line of Duty Program

Firefighter Stephen Siller sacrificed his life in service to others and, in his memory, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation developed the In the Line of Duty Program to honor our heroes. This program supports our nation’s veterans, and Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children. The Foundation has committed more than $250 million in support of our nation’s greatest heroes and their families. By the end of 2020, the Foundation will have delivered 250 mortgage-free homes.

Smart Home Program

The Foundation builds specially adapted smart homes that help our most catastrophically injured veterans to reclaim their day-to-day independence.

Fallen First Responder Home Program

The Foundation pays off the mortgages for the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty who leave behind young children. The Foundation’s goal is to ensure stability and security to these families facing sudden tragic loss. The Gold Star Family Home Program honors the legacy of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country by providing the surviving spouses and young children with mortgage-free homes.

Every purchase from Honest Pets Co. helps us pay it forward to support fellow working dogs and their first responder owners. We support veterans, service dogs, and first responders around the world. We do this by donating a portion of all of our proceeds to organizations that help these individuals.

We cannot thank our customers enough for helping make our mission a reality for us.

To learn more about Tunnel to Towers Foundation, visit their website at https://t2t.org/, find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Tunnel2Towers/, and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/Tunnel2Towers/.

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