9/11 Siller Foundation Recognizes Don Booth Co.
NORTH JACKSON, Ohio – Memories of Sept. 11, 2001, remain fresh.
Stephen Siller was a New York City firefighter on his way to meet his brothers at a golf outing when his scanner reported that a jet had slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center and the building was in flames.
He returned to the firehouse, grabbed his gear and headed toward the scene. Seeing that traffic had ground to a halt, he left his car and ran through the Brooklyn Tunnel to the towers, dodging vehicles all the way.
By that time, a second plane had hit the South Tower and Siller entered the building to do what he was trained to do. He never returned.
“He didn’t have to be there. He was off-duty,” says Vincent Doherty, a retired captain of the Fire Department of New York City whose firehouse that day lost more men than any other. “He wanted to be there.”
Siller’s siblings decided to create a foundation in his name and raise money for the families of fallen New York firefighters. Today, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation has expanded far beyond the confines of New York and is making the difference in the lives of veterans, other public servants, and their families across the country.
More recently, the foundation has raised money to construct “smart” houses for severely wounded veterans, and has set up a partnership with Carpet One Floor & Home, which has committed to providing flooring and carpet for 46 of these houses.
Doherty was joined Wednesday by Mahoning Valley firefighters and police officers at Don Booth Co., a distributor of Carpet One products. Each year, Doherty and 30 volunteers devote a week visiting Carpet One outlets to honor them for their support. They also share stories about 9/11.
“We don’t just tell the story of the Siller Foundation,” he says. “We tell our personal stories. Because all of us were at the World Trade Center and we felt the pain of the World Trade Center.”
His firehouse lost the most men — 19 – of any firehouse in the city. Killed were 343 firefighters – so were 60 law enforcement officers. Another 2,753 men and women lost their lives during the attack on New York.
The retired firefighter presented a commemorative plaque with a piece of steel from the World Trade Center as a token of thanks.
“We found that after 9/11 our mission grew,” Doherty says. The Siller Foundation, for example, raised $1 million to pay off the mortgages of two New York City policemen who were gunned down in Brooklyn.
The Siller Foundation then raised money to build a “smart” home – that is, a house that is heavily wired with electronic content — for Brendan Marcolo, a quadruple amputee who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Carpet One then asked to be a partner of the foundation and supply flooring and carpet for these building projects, Doherty says. “They didn’t think that was enough,” he notes. The company has since launched a campaign throughout its 750 stores across the country to ask customers for $10 donations that go directly to the Siller Foundation.
The money is used to build these houses for wounded veterans throughout the country, two of which are in Ohio, Doherty says. Thus far, the Siller Foundation has committed to building 200 such houses. “Fifteen homes are completed, 14 are in the works and 12 are just getting started in the planning stages,” he says.
Chuck Booth, president of Don Booth Co., called it * an honor to have officials such as Doherty express their thanks and support.
“We donate $1 of every yard of flooring that is sold to the foundation, and we ask our customers to contribute $10,” Booth says. “It’s a great thing that they do for our servicemen and we’re proud to be part of it.”
Booth says the company has been involved in the Siller Foundation about two years and donates materials used in these houses.
“It was a true honor to have him here,” Booth says of Doherty. “He’s one of the true heroes. When we heard who was coming and who he was, we were just humbled and couldn’t be happier or more thrilled that he could come here.”
Pictured: Don and Chuck Booth accept the company’s commemoration from Vincent Doherty, a retired captain of the Fire Department of New York City whose firehouse lost more men ib 9/11 than any other.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.