Notoriously, in times of disaster, tragedy or loss, the human instinct, for Americans in particular, has been to act. They rally around their fellow citizens to pick up the pieces and put them back together, even if a few are chipped or broken. Though it comes at a price, to bear witness to that is truly remarkable. There is no shortage of witnessing the rally of do-gooders giving back to their communities when you work in corporate social responsibility. The beneficiary partners we have worked with for over 16 years have been shining examples of what it means to reach out a hand.

We always love to highlight the work of those beneficiaries, but as we come upon the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, Impact 4 Good wants to take the time to acknowledge one in particular. Tunnel to Towers (T2T) Foundation was founded by the Siller family after Stephen Siller, brother, son, husband, dad and firefighter with Brooklyn’s Squad 1, lost his life on September 11, 2001, in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Stephen was off-duty and on his way to a round of golf with his brothers when he heard the call about a plane hitting the North Tower. He drove to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, found it closed, strapped on his 60 pounds of gear, and ran into lower Manhattan toward the Twin Towers where he would make the ultimate sacrifice for his fellow man.

Founded in December 2001, Tunnel to Towers has raised $250 million supporting active-duty military, disabled veterans, and their families, and first responders. They have had more than 500,000 people take part in more than 70 national run, walk or climb events in their series. They have established a mobile exhibit to help educate today’s youth and maintain the memory of those lost. They inspire their fellow Americans to contribute to these programs that make a difference in the lives of our nation’s first responders and military personnel. Every year they organize a run, in locations all over the country, including Battery Tunnel, to honor Stephen by running or walking his last steps.

In 2016, September 11th was proclaimed a National Day of Service by President Obama. On this day, especially, take a moment to consider the services you perform or contribute to those around you. It is a true testament to the character of a person that voluntarily puts their life in danger and makes the ultimate sacrifice for complete strangers. They are heroes. Our first responders have rallied around those in need, similarly, in the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are heroes, in their own right, running toward the disaster while others were running away.

Not only in times of disaster are there opportunities for you to be like Stephen and the men and women that give of themselves and perform acts of service every day. There are people, your neighbors, right in your community who need assistance, and there are organizations like Tunnel to Towers that can help you make a difference. Maybe we’re not all destined to be heroes or live a life of service, but heroic acts and service to our communities comes in all shapes and sizes. Let us do our part to never forget and be more like Stephen.   — Please consider donating in honor of the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 to Tunnel to Towers, or register for one of their Tunnel to Towers 5K Run/Walks this month

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