U.S. Markets open in 3 hrs 22 mins

Season of Hope ‘Wraps Up’ with a Promise Kept to Gold Star Family

Tunnel to Towers Foundation Makes Good on its Promise to Pay off Mortgage of Gold Star Family by Christmas

Staten Island, NY, Dec. 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, established in memory of a fallen 9/11 firefighter, has announced the final home of its 2019 Season of Hope campaign, completing 24 days of giving that started on December 1. 

Live on Fox News Channel’s America’s Newsroom, Tunnel to Towers Chairman and CEO Frank Siller surprised United States Air Force veteran Deborah Bonacasa and her daughter Lilianna with the news that the mortgage on their home has been paid in full. 

Just six weeks prior, on Veterans Day, Siller vowed that the Foundation would have the mortgage on the Bonacasa’s New York home paid off by Christmas. 

Today, on Christmas Eve, he announced that promise had been kept.

“This means everything.  It takes off a huge financial burden on us and Louie always wanted to provide a home for us. After his deployment and everything that happened, now Frank and Tunnel to Towers has made that dream a reality.”

Deborah lost her husband, SSgt. Louis Bonacasa, just days before Christmas, on December 21, 2015. This Christmas, she was given the news that the home where they made so many family memories will be hers forever. 

SSgt. Bonacasa enlisted in the Air Force after graduating from high school in 2002. He served four tours among Qatar, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His wife, Deborah, also served her country in the USAF as an information manager. She met Louis in 2002 when they were both stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Soon after, they had their daughter, Lilianna

When a suicide bomber positioned an explosive-laden motorcycle 15 feet from SSgt. Bonacasa and his patrol, he heroically placed himself between his team members and the motorcycle. He and five of his team members lost their lives, but his actions helped save the lives of two other team members and an Afghan defender.

SSgt. Bonacasa was just 31 years old when he lost his life. Lilianna was just 5 years old when she lost her dad.

This is the twenty-fourth and final home in the Foundation’s Season of Hope campaign, during which it has paid off the mortgage of or given away a home every day from December 1 until Christmas Eve.  

“I think we have a contract with America’s heroes, our veterans, and our first responders: when they go off to serve their country, both here and abroad, and they don’t come home, or they come home with life-changing injuries, we should take care of them and the families that are left behind,” said Chairman and CEO of Tunnel to Towers Frank Siller. “The Season of Hope showed all of these families that their loved one’s sacrifice hasn’t been and will never be forgotten.”

As part of the Season of Hope: 

  • 24 families across 17 different states received mortgage-free homes 
  • 10 Gold Star Families were given forever homes
  • 9 families of fallen First Responders had their mortgages paid in full 
  • 5 smart homes restored the independence of catastrophically injured veterans

You can read the inspiring stories behind every Season of Hope home recipient on Tunnel2Towers.org.

This year, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation will have provided 54 mortgage-free homes across its three major programs: the Gold Star Family Home Program, the Fallen First Responder Home Program, and the Smart Home Program.

Even with all the good they have accomplished this year, there are still more deserving families and veterans waiting for the stability and security of a mortgage-free home. You can help the Foundation continue to provide mortgage-free homes by donating just $11 per month.

About the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s mission is to honor the sacrifice of FDNY Firefighter Stephen Siller, who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001. To date, The Tunnel to Towers Foundation has spent over $125 million to honor and support our first responders and veterans and their families.

For more about the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, please visit tunnel2towers.org.


Trevor Tamsen
Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation