After announcing that they would take over responsibility for the mortgages of fallen NYPD officers Rafael Ramos, a Sunset Park native, and Wenjian Liu of Bensonhurst, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation made good on its word and announced to the families of the officers—shot at point-blank range in their marked NYPD car on Saturday, December 20—that donations had exceeded expectation and that the organization had raised $860,000 to put toward their homes.
The organization opened the floor for donations on its website on Friday, December 26. According to foundation documents, “more than 10,000 donations were received via online, mail, and phone towards the purchase of the Liu and Ramos family homes,” in under two weeks.
Over 250 uniformed officers attended the announcement on Wednesday, January 7 at the Conrad New York Hotel, where the widows of the slain officers, Maritza Ramos and Pei Xia Chen, met for the first time and learned that the foundation had raised well over the amount anticipated and that any additional funds would go to the repair and renovation of their homes.
“It is such an honor to have the wives of Detectives Liu and Ramos here with us today and have them in our presence,” said Chairperson and CEO of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation Frank Siller. “Through these efforts, through the hard work of so many people coming together at such a sad and tragic time, over 10,000 people have donated. We’re so proud to say that we have surpassed our goal and raised over $860,000.
“You still can have a good life,” Siller continued as he faced the widows. “You are a part of the Siller family, you are a part of the Tunnel to Towers family, and we are going to have you forever.”
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who Siller said has stood with the foundation from “the very beginning,” was in attendance at the event, having donated $20,000 to the cause himself.
“The New York City Police Department is the finest law enforcement agency in the United States,” said Giuliani. “You’ve had a record of crime reduction that no other police department in the world comes close to; you are the top of the profession. Anybody who suggests the opposite is jealous, prejudiced or misinformed.”
The Tunnel to Towers Fund, Frank and the Siller family stepping up here is no surprise to me,” the former mayor continued. “These are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. It’s a great example for the Liu and the Ramos families and anyone else, of how you can deal with what Frank said, ‘never goes away.’ The loss of your two wonderful sons, husbands, fathers, the thing that helps it go away, is helping other people.”
Also in attendance at the event were NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro and PBA First Vice President Robert Zink among other law enforcement dignitaries. The New York Tenors sang two songs throughout the event and commenced the day’s good news with a sing-along rendition of “God Bless America.”