NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Founded in honor of an FDNY firefighter, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation is dedicated to helping the families of first responders and recognizing their loss.
- The Tunnel to Towers Foundation builds homes or pays off mortgages for families of those killed in the line of duty at home or abroad
- Find out more about the annual Tunnel to Towers run
The holidays are a time for family and friends to gather together in celebration. Last Christmas, one family was extremely grateful to have a new home for their holidays.
The family of Detective Miosotis Familia was welcomed into a new apartment, five months after losing their mother in a senseless murder.
“It’s just really, really heartwarming and so touching to know that so many people cared about us and so many people were hurt and touched and moved by what had happened,” Genesis Villella, Det. Familia’s daughter said.
The tragic death of Det. Familia left the family without a parent and a home. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation spearheaded the effort to get her three children a newly decorated, three bedroom, two bath apartment in Riverdale. This keeps the twins in the same school zone.
“No one could bring my mother back to life, unfortunately. But it was really nice that people really wanted to help achieve my mom’s dream of having us live in a really nice area, a really nice place and a beautiful apartment,” Villella added.
The $650,000 price tag for the co-op would have been higher without the generosity of the owner.
“It’s the opening of a new chapter a new sense of security for them,” Marilyn Bennett Wegh, a salesperson for Skyview Apartments said. “Their excitement, their joy of having their own place now. A place to root their new family.”
“Even though we are living in a reality that we prefer not to live in, we can at least enjoy the lifestyle my mother wanted us to have and worked so hard to provide for us,” Familia’s daughter explained.
“It’s my blessing for the holiday season,” Wegh added.
Tunnel to Towers also raised money to pay a decade of maintenance payments so that Genesis would have a home that is fully paid for to raise the 13-year-old twins, Peter and Delilah.
“My mom made sure it was important that we really cared about each other and that we looked out for each other. When this horrible thing happened to her, it wasn’t hard at all to make the decision that I needed to step in and assume that parental role. To make sure that they are well taken care of,” the 21-year-old daughter explained.
Genesis is trying to maintain some of the family traditions including cooking and serving her mother’s baked chicken holiday dinner.
“I’m going to be incorporating a lot of traditions that my mom did for Christmas. We are very excited for Christmas actually,” Villella said.
“I’m going to attempt to do what she did which is to have an entire chicken… we’re definitely going to keep her in our hearts during Christmas… I really believe my mom is watching down on us.”