A New York City charity that helps the families of fallen police and firefighters needs to raise $23,000 to pay off the mortgage on the family home of slain Weymouth police Sergeant Michael Chesna.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which honors the memory of a New York City firefighter who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, hopes soon to close the fund-raising gap.
“In a very short order, I’d like to be back up there, myself, handing over a paid off mortgage note from the bank,” said Frank Siller, chief executive of the foundation that honors his brother. “It’s one less thing that family has to worry about.”
The foundation launched the donation drive last month with a $100,000 contribution. Since then, donations of all amounts have poured in to help the family of Chesna, who was shot and killed on July 15 while responding to a report of an erratic driver.
The owner of the Hanover Mall, Peco Real Estate Partners, made a $25,000 donation. Chesna, 42, lived in Hanover with his wife, Cindy, and two young children. The mall’s rear parking lot was used as a staging area for thousands of police officers who attended Chesna’s wake and funeral at a nearby Catholic church.
Ed Callahan, the mall manager, said the company made the donation after learning Chesna lived in Hanover.
“It means the world to PREP,” Callahan said of helping the slain officer’s family. “And I know it means the world to myself and my team.”
Tunnel to Towers originally focused on providing assistance to the families of fallen firefighters. It expanded to assist the families of first responders killed in the line of duty, after two New York City police officers were shot and killed while sitting in their police cruiser in 2014.
Weymouth police Captain Richard M. Fuller, Jr. said that it is comforting to know that the organization is “out there to help take care of our families.”
“One of the first things that a child of a fallen officer often thinks is ‘Are we going to have to move?,” Fuller said in an e-mail to the Globe. “Thanks to generosity of The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, these kids don’t have to worry about that.”
Siller said that being able relieve the family from some of the financial pressures is “one small piece in their recovery”
“I’ve seen it so many times,” Siller said. “That when a family knows that they have a home that they don’t have to worry about, and there’s no financial burden, it helps them recover.”
He said it also helps to know “that so many people came together [and] that so many people care.
“It’s the people around them that lift them,” Siller said.Adam Sennott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org