The families of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos will never be able to fill the void of having a husband and father taken from their life too soon.
But a foundation set up to honor first responders has taken an incredible step to help lessen the families' pain and ease their worries.
The “Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers” Foundation presented the fallen officers' families with checks on Wednesday to pay off their mortgages.
Donations from all 50 states poured in. Over $1 million dollars was raised, and extra funding will help both families with repairs to their homes.
Liu's widow and Ramos' sister both spoke to the audience at a ceremony, acknowledging what an incredible gift they had received, New York 1 reports.
“On behalf of Liu's family we would like to extend our greatest gratitude and appreciation to everyone who gave their generous contribution during this difficult time. To all my extended blue family, be safe out there,” said Liu's wife, Pei Xia Chin.
“Nothing will ever bring my brother back, but just to know that my sister-in-law and the boys can sleep just a little bit better amidst this tragedy fills a little bit of that gap,” said Officer Ramos' sister, Sindy Ramos.
Over 10,000 people donated to the cause, including two young girls from Wisconsin, 9-year-old and 7-year-old Gretchen and Victoria Lysne, who donated all of the Christmas money they had received, WABC-TV New York reports.
“I would hope they'd just not be sad anymore about their husbands,” said Victoria.
“I hope they'll have enough money and I hope they'll have a good life,” said Gretchen.
The “Tunnel To Towers” foundation honors Stephen Siller, a 34-year old father of five and New York City firefighter who was killed on 9/11.
On that day, he had just ended a late shift and was headed towards a round of golf when he heard on the scanner that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.
He rushed towards the attack, only to be caught up in gridlock in the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Abandoning his truck, he strapped his 60 pounds of gear to his back and ran approximately 4 miles to the towers. He was killed saving others.
First responders like Liu, Ramos, and Siller deserve our utmost respect and gratitude for the debt we will never be able to repay.