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Charity Raises Funds for First Responders and Their Families

No one living in the New York Tri-State on 9/11/2001 can forget that day. Over twenty years on, accounts of the heroism and courage that first responders selflessly demonstrated remind us of the triumph of the human spirit over oppression. While many made the ultimate sacrifice, the majority of surviving rescuers were left with lasting injuries and negatively impacted health. For years, these heroes haven’t had access to the necessary healthcare resources, leading to many immeasurable losses. Thankfully, Tunnel to Towers has risen out of this need for assistance.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation honors Stephen Siller, a Brooklyn firefighter who was about to play a round of golf after his shift when news reached him that a plane had hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Siller retrieved his gear but could not drive through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel to the scene, and he then strapped his equipment on his back and raced through the tunnel to the site. Sadly, Siller was among the 343 firefighters lost that day in the line of duty.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation (T2T) was founded to honor Siller’s story and sacrifice as a first responder. Its National Golf Series became the foundation’s flagship event to raise funds to support firefighters, police officers, veterans injured on the job, and families impacted by a loss. On May 15, 2023, the Foundation held an exciting Golf Tournament at the Lake Success Golf Club on Long Island, NY. In addition to an exhilarating round of golf, there were opportunities to bid on sports memorabilia and a raffle for Yankees tickets.

This year’s honoree, New York City Detective Dalsh Veve, was investigating reports of gunfire in East Flatbush on June 3rd, 2017. As he attempted to question a suspect sitting behind the wheel of his parked car, the driver sped off as Officer Veve was holding the driver’s door. The veteran officer was dragged at high speeds for three blocks and sustained life-threatening injuries. Despite continued rehabilitation, Officer Veve requires around-the-clock care. In 2020, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, in honor of his bravery and service to his community, paid off the mortgage on his Long Island home as part of that year’s Season of Hope fundraising drive.

This year’s event chair, John Rafferty, is a retired NYPD detective and long-time resident of Middle Village. “[T2T is] an amazing organization that really gives so much of the money that’s generated back to people that deserve it,” stated Rafferty. In fact, 93% of donations received go towards achieving the Foundation’s goals. United Public Adjusters & Appraisers also served on Rafferty’s committee and co-sponsored the event with Avalon Bay Communities, Inc., Watchguard 24/7, LLC, and the Lefrak Organization. The event’s donations substantially contributed to the support of the 2023 Tunnel to Towers award recipients.

As part of their commitment to support those who selflessly serve and protect, The Tunnel to Towers Foundation has, to date, paid off thousands of mortgages nationwide for deserving first responders injured or lost in the line of duty. In addition, every year, several smart homes are donated or renovated for veterans or first responders who have suffered injuries while on duty that permanently impact their mobility. These homes are mortgage-free and have been designed to address the unique needs of each individual. The goal is to help our most severely injured veterans and first responders reclaim their independence.

Philip Maltaghati, President of United Public Adjusters & Appraisers, stated, “It is heartening and highly important that the dedication and personal sacrifices shown by our veterans, first responders, police, and firefighters are recognized and their requirements supported.”

“This year’s Tunnel to Towers Golf Event underscored the relevance and commitment by local organizations to ‘never forget,’” Maltaghati added.

Each year since 2015, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has held the Tunnel to Towers Tower Climb NYC at One World Observatory at One World Trade Center in New York City. One thousand participants climb 104 stories, symbolizing strength, hope, and the resiliency of the American spirit. Toward that end, on June 4th, Philip Maltaghati, Anthony DeLorenzo, and Colleen Nitowitz of UPA will join about 50 others on their team to make the Tunnel to Towers Climb Fundraiser in honor of Officer Veve. Proceeds for the team (Dalsh’s Dawgs) effort will go to support future T2T initiatives.

“Your continued support is deeply appreciated. I personally urge you to donate to this worthy cause,” Maltaghati concluded.

Just as the Tunnel to Towers Foundation advocates for the 9/11 first responders, as public adjusters, UPA demonstrates compassion and empathy towards their clients who require assistance and support to receive a just claim settlement from their insurance carriers. Learn more about UPA and the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

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