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Tunnel to Towers pays off mortgages for 22 fallen first responder families in observance of Independence Day



The Tunnel to Towers Foundation has paid off the mortgages in full for the families with young children of 22 of our nation’s fallen first responders across 16 states, including Pascagoula Mississippi Fire Department Captain Jacob Latch and Louisiana Corrections Officer John Edward Grinston Keith.

“As we celebrate America’s freedom this Fourth of July, I am honored to give these fallen first responder families the financial freedom of owning their home, mortgage-free,” said Tunnel to Towers Chairman and CEO Frank Siller. “While you are celebrating with flags and fireworks this weekend, please take a moment to think of these heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our communities safe and those who will continue to put their lives at risk every day.”

Pascagoula Fire Department Captain Jacob Latch

Latch died last year just two weeks after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. He is survived by his wife of 13 years, Katie, and their three children, Avery, Olivia and Finley.

“Our local chapter of the Tunnel To Towers Organization has been a part of our lives for many years. Jacob was always eager to help generate support and participants for the annual T2T 5k race in Biloxi, MS. He felt honored to volunteer for an organization that provided financial support for the families of those who were lost in the line of duty,” Capt. Latch’s wife Kathryn said. “We never dreamed that one day we would be that family. I am so thankful that Jacob had the opportunity to participate in fundraising for this organization that has helped so many families and will now be helping his own family. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for the foundation and each person that has ever played a part in this organization. Thank you!”

Louisiana Corrections Officer John E. Keith

John served at the Pollock Federal Bureau of Prisons since 2012 and left behind a wife and two young daughters. He was just 37 years old.

These are the names of the 22 heroic fallen first responders who tragically lost their lives in the line of duty:

  • Louisville Kentucky Metro Police Officer Zachary Cottongim
  • Boone County Missouri Fire Protection District Assistant Fire Chief Bryant Gladney
  • Jefferson Township Ohio Firefighter/EMT Thomas Rees
  • North Carolina State Highway Patrol Master Trooper John Horton
  • Mesquite Texas Police Department Police Officer Richard Lee Houston II
  • Texas Department of Public Safety Special Agent Anthony Salas
  • Harris County Texas Constable Kareem Atkins
  • Sterling Illinois Fire Department Captain Garrett Ramos
  • Chicago Illinois Police Officer Paul Nauden
  • Wayne County Illinois Sheriff’s Deputy Sheriff Sean Riley
  • Sayville New York  Fire Department Fire Chief Lawrence Sesso
  • FDNY Lieutenant Joseph Maiello
  • Iowa State Trooper Theodore Benda
  • Henry County Georgia Police Officer Paramhans Desai
  • Alamo Georgia Police Officer Dylan Harrison
  • Wakefield Massachusetts Fire Lieutenant Robert Ford Sr.
  • New Hampshire State Police Staff Sgt. Jesse Sherrill
  • Hancock County Maine Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Gross
  • Pascagoula Mississippi Fire Department Captain Jacob Latch
  • South Metro Colorado Fire Rescue Firefighter Anthony Palato
  • Louisiana Corrections Officer John Edward Grinston Keith
  • Los Angeles California Fire Department Firefighter Kelly Wong

Tunnel to Towers’ goal is to deliver 1,000 mortgage-free homes across the country to the families with young children of our nation’s fallen military heroes and fallen first responder heroes, and to catastrophically injured veterans by the end of 2022.

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