HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — An organization is planning to pay off the mortgage of fallen Hanover firefighter Lt. Brad Clark.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation will unveil its fundraising plans on Wednesday for the Clark family.
The foundation, created in honor of a fallen 9/11 firefighter, has paid $7 million in mortgage payments to families of first responders killed in the line to duty across the country, according to a press release from the foundation.
“The mission of Tunnel to Towers is to honor and support the military and first responders and since Lt. Clark was both a member of the military–having served in the U.S. Army prior to becoming a firefighter–and died while saving others in the midst of Tropical Storm Michael,” said Tunnel To Towers Foundation officials in a statement. “Tunnel to Towers is honored to actively support his wife Melanie and his four daughters in the wake of this tragedy.”
More than a thousand people showed up to honor Lt. Brad Clark during a memorial service on Wednesday, many of them firefighters from around the country.
Lt. Clark was killed in the line of duty last week after a tractor-trailer slammed into his fire truck while he and other members of Hanover County Fire & EMS responded to a wreck on I-295. Two other firefighters were seriously injured.
“This guy mattered, he was important,” Liam Flaherty, a firefighter from Brooklyn, New York, told 8News.
Kevin Summers traveled all the way from Sacramento for Wednesday’s service. He said being a firefighter creates an inexplicable bond — no matter how far the distance.
“It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “I’ve been, you know, all across the country at firehouses and you’re immediately welcomed as part of the family. The only way to do that is to have the same experience other firefighters have had all across the country.”
“It also kind of brings home that deep down in the back your mind, you know that today could be the last day I put on the boots and a helmet and the last day that I serve the community.” — Kevin Summers
Flaherty echoed those same sentiments, saying the 7-hour drive from Brooklyn was well worth paying respects to a fallen firefighter.
“I’m always in debt to the rest of the nation after 9/11,” he said. “You know, I just saw the outpouring of affection and love and support that came from all over the country and anytime we can pay it forward we try to do it.”
Flaherty added that while he didn’t know Lt. Clark personally, he knows of his type.
“I’ve been talking to his coworkers here and every time his name comes up, there’s a smile or there’s a good story.
“He was a firefighter’s firefighter.”