COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is honoring those who have served our country by paying off the mortgages of eleven veteran and military families, including the family of slain Sumter County Deputy Corporal Andrew Gillette.
The foundation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony this afternoon outside of the Gillette family’s home.
Tunnel to Towers paid off the family’s mortgage in full, after previously announcing their acceptance into the Fallen First Responder Home Program earlier this year.
Cpl. Gillette was shot and killed while trying to serve a detention order and eviction notice on February 25, 2020. He was 37 years old.
He spent more than half of his life serving his country and his community. Prior to joining law enforcement in 2013, Cpl. Gillette served as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force for 12 years, during which time he was stationed at Shaw Air Force Base.
He left behind his wife, Marie, and their son, JohnCurtis.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s Fallen First Responder Home Program was created in 2015. It pays off 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 families facing sudden tragic loss.
“Being mortgage-free is certainly a huge burden lifted from my shoulders. It will make it much easier to make ends meet for myself and JohnCurtis and provide the kind of life that Andrew would have wanted for us going forward. I feel like [getting this mortgage payoff in observance of Veterans Day] is very fitting, as my husband served not only his community during his life, but his country as well. He loved and believed in them both very deeply,” Marie Gillette said.
Tunnel to Towers also paid off the mortgages for the following service members and their families:
- U.S. Army Captain Dan Berschinski - Atlanta, GA
- U.S. Army Special Forces SGT MAJ James Sartor - Peyton, CO
- U.S. Army Specialist Christopher Michael Harris - Fayetteville, NC
- U.S. Army SFC Reymund Transfiguracion - Lacey, WA
- Springfield Police Officer Christopher Ryan Walsh - Springfield, MO
- West Peculiar Firefighter Chuck McCormick - Raymore, MO
- Louisiana State Trooper - George Baker - Amite, LA
- Bonneville County Sheriff’s Deputy Wyatt Cooper Maser - Idaho Falls, ID
- Smyrna Police Officer Christopher Eric Ewing - Acworth, GA
- Philadelphia Firefighter Michael Bernstein - Philadelphia, PA
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