On July 1, Fort Hamilton High School graduate Bryan Dilberianwas in Arghandab, Afghanistan, serving a 12-month tour for the U.S.Army. During a routine patrol, an improvised explosive devicedetonated near him, killing his best friend, PFC Jimmy Waters,instantly. Shrapnel from the blast caused the loss of both ofDilberian’s legs below the knee and his left arm below theelbow.
After more than a dozen surgeries, Dilberian is walking again.He even returned to Brooklyn for the holidays. And althoughDilberian requires additional treatment, according to Jack Malone,a volunteer for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, heis eager to move on.
He’s an amazing man, Malone said. He’s going on with hislife. He’s got a positive attitude and he’s just a terrific person- a very positive young man.
Malone will be on hand, on Tuesday, February 14, in the AlumnaeRoom of Visitation Academy on 90th Street and Ridge Boulevard,where the school will hold a Valentine’s Day bake sale from 1 p.m.to 3 p.m. to raise money to donate to Tunnel to Towers, which hascommitted to build a home for Dilberian.
Tunnel to Towers is a national organization based out of StatenIsland, which supports children who have lost a parent,firefighters, and military personnel injured in the line of duty.It was founded to honor late firefighter Stephen Siller, who diedon 9/11 after responding to the news of the attack on the WorldTrade Center, running through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to reachlower Manhattan to join his company with 60 pounds of gear strappedto his back. Starting last year, the group partnered with the GarySinese Foundation to initiate the Building for America’s Bravestprogram.
The organization plans to build 11 smart homes for injuredveterans across the country. Smart homes are equipped withautomated appliances and fixtures that make life easier for thedisabled. The first house built through the program was constructedon Staten Island for U.S. Army SPC Brendan Marrocco, a quadrupleamputee. The house was completed last spring.
The effort means a great deal to Dilberian. Thank you to thestaff, students and families of Visitation Academy for supportingme at this difficult time in my life, Dilberian wrote in anemailed statement. It’s the support from people like you that keepwounded warriors in good spirits and remind us that we are notforgotten.
Frank Siller, chairperson of Tunnel to Towers, is also deeplytouched by the event.
To hear a school in Brooklyn is doing this for Bryan…it’sgreat, Siller said. I think it speaks volumes about that school,what they teach in that school and the community in general.
For more information about the Stephen Siller Tunnel to TowersFoundation go to www.tunneltotowers.org. For details on otherupcoming local fundraisers, call Jack Malone at 718-440-5775.