Veterans Day is a time for American to remember the sacrifices soldiers have made for their country throughout history. But for many celebrating American lives extends past a day in November.
On Wednesday, Nov. 4 Franeys Carpet One and Design Center staff were visited by a Roger Kilfoil a representative from the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
Kilfoil is a retired NYC firefighter, having spent his entire career with Ladder Company 131 in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Kilfoil recently joined the foundation’s Building for America’s Bravest program and has been traveling across the country acknowledging donors to the program. Kilfoil made a special stop in Visalia to honor local veterans and current Visalia Police and Fire as well as recognize Franeys with a piece of Ground Zero for their contribution to the foundation.
Mark shared with those in attendance that Franeys joined forces with the foundation after hearing the story of Stephen Siller. Siller was a dedicated New York Firefighter who upon hearing of the first plane to hit the twin town rushed toward the attack. After finding the Brooklyn Batter Tunnel was already closed, he strapped on 60 lbs. of gear and rushed on foot toward the wreckage. Siller gave up his live saving others. In honor of their brother’s memory Siller’s siblings started a foundation in his name. As a proud supporter of the foundation, Franey’s carries the sponsors, Carpet One Floor & Home® and Mohawk® Industries flooring, which is used in custom designed smart homes built for those servicemen with three amputees.
Building for America’s Bravest is a program of The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. The program builds smart homes for American most catastrophically injured service members returning home. Each home is custom designed to address the unique needs of each individual. The waiting list is long and for every home the foundation build, another three veterans join the list. Currently, there are five quadruple and 55 triple amputees waiting for a smart home. The Foundation has complete 12 homes and have 25 homes under construction or in the planning stages. “You’ve got the most important job here,” said Kilfoil.
The donations made by Carpet One clients go directly toward the building of smart homes.
Also in attendance was Rodger Maraista a local author who recently complete a book of letters written by his mother, father and grandmother during WWII, entitled ‘Letters Home From a Fallen Hero’. His father was a war hero who died the day Maraista was born. According to records he loaded into his fighter plane, which was then shot down by enemy fire. Maraista’s curiosity about his father’s life followed him throughout his childhood and after finding a box of letters containing correspondence from his mother, father and grandmother, Maraista began an investigation into his family history. “All I knew was that he was a war hero but through his letters I feel like I really got to know him. I would have really liked to have meet him.” You can purchase “Letters Home From a Fallen Hero” on Amazon or directly through Maraist at firstname.lastname@example.org.