Family of fallen Dallas officers given money to pay off homes

Gift to Families of Fallen Officers

DALLAS -- Inside a conference room at the Dallas Police Association, a young girl found comfort in the stuffed animal she held and in the touch of her mother's hand.

The mother and her two daughters didn't say much but their words were powerful.

"Michael worked so hard to provide for us," said Heidi Smith, the widow of slain Sgt. Michael Smith. "He worked many long hours away from myself and the girls and we just want to thank everyone that was a part of it."

Smith died alongside five Dallas-area officers during an ambush on protesters in July of 2016.

Monday morning, a representative for the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers non-profit, based out of New York state, delivered the news that their home was paid off.

They did the same for Emily Thompson, the widow of fallen Dart Officer Brent Thompson.

"I can't say thank you enough or express my gratitude enough," she said. "Thank you."

Kristy Zamarripa, the widow of Patrick Zamarripa, doesn't own a house. But when she's ready to buy, the donated money will be waiting.

"Ultimately, we raised approximately $610,000 in five days to be able to assist these families," said John Hodge, of the Tunnels to Towers Foundation.

"Quiet frankly, [money] from all over the world," he said.

Hodge's cousin, Stephen Siller, was a firefighter during the attacks on 9/11. According to Hodge, Siller was separated from his squad and walked nearly three miles to ground zero. Siller was killed when the twin towers collapsed.

That's when the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Tower Foundation was born.

Since 2002, they've worked to help keep the families of service members and first responders in their homes. Lately their focus has been on law enforcement.

"As I stand here today, there have been 64 police officers lost to shootings or death in this one year alone," Hodge said. "I'm not sure exactly what the answer is but enough is enough."

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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