Let Us Do Good: Groundbreaking Ceremony

Let Us Do Good: Groundbreaking Ceremony


Mortgage-free homes for catastrophically injured veterans, and for surviving widows and small children of fallen of the military and first responders is a first-of-its-kind community! Let Us Do Good consists of more than 100 homes in Land O’ Lakes, on 75 acres donated by the Esther and Harold Mertz Foundation to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

 Tunnel to Towers was established 20 years ago after Stephen Siller, a New York City Firefighter who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, will provide mortgage-free homes.“The Tunnel to Towers Foundation was started in memory of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter who laid down his life while saving others on Sept. 11, 2001,” said Bradley Blakeman, who served as master of ceremonies for the groundbreaking event.

“This Let Us Do Good Village is just one example of the many good works that Frank Siller and the foundation have done all over our country.

 “This village, the first of its kind, will create a community of families who will share a special bond together, who understand better than anyone what it takes to keep our nation and our communities free,” Blakeman said.

 “It will be more than houses. Along with over 100 brand new mortgage-free homes, the Let Us Do Good Village will feature world-class amenities, will have an indoor basketball court, a pool, a tennis court, an ADA-accessible gym, a theater, an outdoor playground, a game room and so, so much more,” he said.

 Another speaker, James S. “Hammer” Hartsell, drew an enthusiastic response from the crowd, when he said: “I feel bad for the rest of America who’s not here today, right here, right now. I feel sorry for them. This is where we need to be as Americans, right here, right now, today.”

Hartsell extended his thanks to the many veterans and active service members at the event. Recipients of Tunnel to Towers’ help also spoke. One of those speakers was JoAnne Campbell (husband died from a 9/11-related illness), who was visibly emotional.“The gratitude that I feel for what they have done cannot be put into words,” said Campbell, whose mortgage was paid off by Tunnel to Towers. U.S. Army Sgt. Bryan Diberian, who will receive the first Smart Home in the Let Us Do Good Village, spoke as well.“The Siller Foundation was pretty much there by my bedside,” he said. “They sat me down for lunch one day and they told me they’re going to build me a house. It changed my life. It really did.”

 Another speaker John B. Grandoff III is on the board of directors for the Esther and Harold Mertz Foundation, which donated the land. “St. Francis of Assisi is the enduring inspiration for Stephen’s foundation, and he was the guiding light to the Siller family in their times of need and sorrow. 

“St. Francis truly inspires the Esther and Harold Mertz Foundation in its mission,” Grandoff said.

Frank Siller, CEO and chairman of Tunnel to Towers, greeted the crowd by expressing his gratitude for being together to celebrate the beginning of the Let Us Do Good Village.

 Siller reminded the crowd: “We live in this country because there’s such a tremendous sacrifice for us. Not just our military, but our men and women who protect us every single day, our police officers, and our firefighters.

Beyond providing mortgage-free homes, the Let Us Do Good Village will create a unique sense of community.

 While the groundbreaking was a day of celebration, Siller reminded the crowd: “We have a lot of work ahead of us.”

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