LUBBOCK, Texas — The Tunnels to Towers Foundation announced Wednesday that the families of fallen first responders, including Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Josh Bartlett, will receive donations of mortgage free homes or donations to cover existing mortgages.
The Tunnels to Towers Foundation was created to honor the late firefighter Stephen Siller who lost his life on September 11.
Bartlett lost his life in the line of duty while responding along with the LCSO SWAT team in Levelland.
The following is a statement from Tunnel to Towers Foundation:
Tunnel to Towers Foundation Delivers Mortgage-Free Homes to Five Families of Fallen Texas First Responders
Mortgage payoffs are part of Tunnel to Towers’ third annual Season of Hope
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is honored to announce it has provided a mortgage-free home or paid in-full, the mortgages on the homes of five fallen Texas first responders.
- Jollyville Fire Department Firefighter/EMT Dylan Rodiek
- Austin Police Department Senior Police Officer Lewis Traylor
- Dallas Police Officer Mitchell Penton
- Kendall County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Deputy Carlos Ramirez
- Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Commander Sergeant Josh Bartlett
This is part of the third annual Tunnel to Towers’ Season of Hope, which celebrates the holiday season by lifting the financial burden of a mortgage from the families of fallen first responders, Gold Star families, and catastrophically injured veterans around the country.
Jollyville Firefighter Dylan Rodiek passed away in the line of duty on August 16, 2021. When Rodiek did not respond to a call, he was found unresponsive in his bunk room.
Acting on behalf of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Jollyville Fire Department Chief Brad Landi presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony where it was announced that the mortgage held on the Rodiek family’s home had been completely satisfied.
“Knowing that my home will be paid off and mine forever lifted a weight from my shoulders that I didn’t know existed. It is one less bill to navigate. It allows my girls to continue to attend the schools they’ve been going to….the pictures could stay on the walls. I knew we didn’t have to make additional changes in a time when our world had been shattered. I could offer my girls consistency remaining in the home we shared with their dad,” said Morgane Rodiek.
Austin Police Department Senior Police Officer Lewis Traylor passed away on July 28, 2021 days after being involved in an on-duty crash. He continued to save lives after his death by remaining on life support so his organs could be donated.
He leaves behind his wife Melissa, and their five children.
“Losing my husband and the father of our five kids, it was a great concern how we’d make it possible to stay in our dream home. With the outpouring of kindness from the Foundation, that weight has been alleviated from my shoulders. We can’t thank you enough,” said Melissa Traylor.
On February 13, 2021, Dallas Police Officer Mitchell Penton was working an accident scene when he was hit by a drunk driver. He left behind his expectant wife, Noel, and a stepson. Noel gave birth to their son this summer. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation provided the family with a mortgage-free home.
Kendall County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff Carlos Ramirez was struck and killed while conducting a traffic stop on July 2, 2019. Deputy Ramirez was a U.S. Army Reserve veteran who served in Iraq. He left behind his wife and two young children. Tunnel to Towers paid off the mortgage on the family’s home.
Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Commander Sergeant Josh Bartlett was shot during a standoff with a barricaded suspect during a stand-off on July 15, 2021. He was a nine-year veteran of the department and previously served in the U.S. Army. He left behind his wife Rebecca Bartlett and their three sons.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Season of Hope is the culmination of the Foundation’s anniversary events.
So far this year Tunnel to Towers has delivered 135 mortgage-free homes across the country.
The 65 homes in Season of Hope will bring the total to 200 homes for the year.
“This holiday season, I know nothing can replace the loss of a father or husband. I hope that ensuring these families will always have a place to call home, a place to gather and celebrate and share memories of their lost loved one, brings these families a little peace this holiday,” said Frank Siller Chairman and CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
For more information on Tunnel to Towers’ mission to support America’s veterans, fallen first responders and Gold Star families, visit T2T.org and consider donating just $11 per month.
About the Tunnel to Towers Foundation
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is dedicated to honoring the sacrifice of FDNY Firefighter Stephen Siller, who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001. For 20 years the Foundation has supported our nation’s first responders, veterans, and their families by providing these heroes and the families they leave behind with mortgage-free homes. For more about the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and its commitment to DO GOOD, please visit T2T.org.