Tunnel to Towers: Brother of firefighter who died on 9/11 made helping others his mission
NEW YORK - Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter, lost his life on Sept. 11, 2001 as he helped others inside the World Trade Center before the twin towers collapsed.
When the attacks happened, Siller was playing golf, but returned to the Brooklyn fire station upon hearing the news that the first plane struck the North Tower. He drove to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to get to Manhattan, but when he realized the tunnel was shut down for security purposes, he strapped on 60 pounds of gear and walked through the tunnel to get to the World Trade Center.
"Stephen was an outrageous human being," his brother, Frank, told LiveNOW on FOX. "He learned early on in life that every day was precious."
RELATED: Photos of 9/11: Scenes from terror attack left indelible memory
Frank is the CEO of the "Tunnel to Towers Foundation," a non-profit organization aimed at raising money and hosting events to support military families and first responders.
The family set up the foundation in honor of Stephen. According to its website, the program has raised over $250 million.
Some of the programs include building mortgage-free homes for injured veterans and first responders, as well as helping families of fallen first responders.
Frank said firefighting was in his brother’s blood, as there were other firefighters and first responders in the family.
"He was always surrounded by people who knew how to serve," Frank added. "He loved everything about it."
RELATED: Never forget: A timeline of the events of September 11, 2001
To mark the 20 years since the 9/11 attacks, Frank said he will retrace his brother’s footsteps from Brooklyn to Manhattan in the "Never Forget" walk.
"I’m going to make sure that we continue to do good in Stephen’s name and all first responders that gave their life 20 years ago," he said. "But at the same time, I think of all the good that has come out of my brother’s sacrifice... thousands and thousands of children that we’ve helped and families that we’ve helped since 9/11, 2001."
Stephen left behind a wife and five children.