Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation EIN #02-0554654


Fundraising Heroes


Calling Catherine Buchanan a passionate supporter of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is an understatement! Ms. Buchanan, a Co-owner/showroom manager at Carpet One Floor & Home in Westland, Michigan, was introduced to the Foundation and the Building for America’s Bravest program at a convention in Phoenix in the winter of 2014. After hearing telling words from FDNY representatives, a few severely injured service members, and the chairman of the Foundation, Catherine was hooked.

Her methods of raising funds and awareness include sharing inspirational Foundation videos, selling raffle tickets, holding 50/50 drawings, selling carpet remnants with all proceeds going to the cause, selling t-shirts, carrying out fundraising events, and making outstanding use of social media. Her mantra is to constantly tell the story! We thank Catherine and everyone associated with Carpet One for their incredible support.

Ed Welter

When Ed Welter heard Stephen Siller’s remarkable story upon beginning his volunteer role at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, he immediately knew he wanted to put his time and talent to work for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

2016 represents the fifth year that Ed will carry out fundraising for the Foundation. He raised over $14,000 in his first year, and has brought in over $50,000 in total since 2012. He is now a member of Team Shamrock, our most successful grassroots fundraising team to date. This group is closing in on $500,000 in donations!

In addition, Ed has put his 30-year career in construction management to work by providing estimates for all of our smart homes. Many thanks to Ed for his incredible effort in rallying support and raising funds for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Keith Palmer

Honoring the legacy of his father, FDNY Battalion Chief Orio Palmer, is Keith Palmer’s motivation for raising funds for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Orio Palmer, a 20-year veteran of the FDNY, was one of 343 firefighters who perished on September 11, 2001. Keith is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and generosity that raising funds in his father’s name has resulted in. Through the generosity of friends, friends of friends, family, acquaintances, and complete strangers, Keith is extremely proud of the fact that Team Orio has raised over $20,000 for the Foundation since it began fundraising!

Use of social media, mainly Facebook, has been the key to Keith’s success. The following are some of his strategies:

Make a great case for fundraising. Tell people why you’re passionate about the cause!

Post regularly, but do not be overbearing. Post once or twice a week in the months leading up to the event, and post more frequently in days leading up the event.

Make it as easy as possible for people to sign up/donate. Provide instructions whenever possible. The fewer steps, the better.

Encourage people to share the donation link to create a considerably larger network of people.

Create some healthy competition among your team of fundraisers.

Keep it fun!

Dory Giannos

Dory Giannos, a global management supervisor at Ogilvy & Mather, learned about the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation through her company, and immediately wanted to get involved in supporting the cause.

She’s had tremendous success networking with family and friends, enabling her to recruit a dozen or so people, outside of the office, to participate in the run/walk. Dory has also been successful using Facebook and email to support her fundraising initiative.

Team Ogilvy has been successful in increasing employee participation by setting up shop in the cafeteria at company headquarters. While employees are purchasing their lunch, donations of $1, $2, $5, $50 or any other amount are requested. Ogilvy gets behind the Foundation by enabling employees to hang posters and distribute other material in the office to build awareness and lead people to the team fundraising page. As a result, Team Ogilvy had over 100 participants in the 2015 Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk!

Dory, who has carried out fundraising activities for two years, participated in her first Tunnel to Towers 5K in 2014, and anxiously awaits the 15th annual run/walk this September.

Randy Payne

Fate brought Randy Payne to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. After traveling to New York in 2002 and visiting Ground Zero, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, he and his family came across a touching embroidered memorial that paid homage to Stephen Siller. The memorial resonated with him. Months later, the Payne family made a return trip from Indianapolis to New York for the inaugural Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk.

Prior to the event, Randy contacted George Siller, and a long-standing, close friendship was born. Randy, who also met Tom Middleton, a retired London firefighter who has also become a dear friend, and many other members of the T2T family, wanted to do more than just participate. The 2003 Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk found the Payne family working registration, selling t-shirts, and pitching in wherever needed at the event.

It was after the 2005 Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk that Randy decided to begin fundraising for the Foundation. His initial effort was to share Stephen’s story with friends and associates the old-fashioned way – through word of mouth. He raised $975 the first year, and that number grew each year. Fast forward to 2012 when Randy learned that the Foundation would be building a smart home for Army Corporal Kyle Hockenberry, a triple-amputee, in Marietta, Ohio through the Building for America’s Bravest program. He got involved in a way he never imagined planning and carrying out Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walks in Cincinnati.

Overseeing these events enabled Randy to build a huge network of supporters, including his employer - Kroger. In short, since he began fundraising, he has raised over $150,000 to support the Foundation and its programs! He plans to exceed his goal of $15,000 in 2016!

Of the numerous, remarkable memories Randy and his family have of the Tunnel to Towers Run & Walk, one that stands out was being asked by Sally Siller, Stephen’s wife, to join her and the catastrophically injured service members at the start of the event in 2010.

Four years into his relationship with the Foundation, Randy was on Staten Island with George Siller getting a quasi-tour of all of the 9/11 memorials on Staten Island, when George turned to Randy and asked him how he actually became a T2T supporter. Randy told him about the day he came across that special, embroidered memorial for Stephen. George asked Randy if he knew who put that there. He replied that he assumed it was a member of the Siller family, but wasn’t sure who. George said, “It was me.”

It was fate alright.

Marc McCorkle

The 2016 Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk in New York will be the sixth for one of the Foundation’s most passionate supporters - Marc McCorkle.

Like most firefighters, Marc’s motivation to make a difference in the lives of others is intrinsic. It’s in his heart and soul. Carrying on the legacy of Stephen Siller and paying homage to the other 342 FDNY firefighters who lost their lives while saving others on September 11, 2001, was more than enough to inspire him. He saw getting involved as a perfect way to utilize his skills for a great cause.

McCorkle, who has taken his support to a new level by signing on to organize and carry out the inaugural Jacksonsville (FL) Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk on Saturday, September 17, 2016, has participated in countless events since 2011, each while clad in his firefighting gear. Over one incredible weekend, he ran in three 5K events (Columbia, SC, Nashville, TN, and Cincinnati, OH). In total, 1,200 miles were driven, and Marc was back on the job at the Irmo Fire District in South Carolina on Monday morning!

Marc credits the people he surrounds himself as the key to raising awareness and funds. He uses word of mouth (“it spews like wildfire!”), and constantly tells Stephen’s story. His mantra is, “people don't care how much you know, unless they know how much you care.” He has helped raise over $2,000 for the Foundation.

The message that Marc looks to share with others comes straight from the heart. He loves helping others, and considers it a natural high for those in need to benefit from his efforts. While he feels a sense of pride in what he does, Marc isn’t seeking any glory or personal gain. He’s thankful to be a part of the Foundation, and hopes to continue to build upon the relationship for years to come.

The Foundation is certainly thankful to have Marc McCorkle!