PORT JEFFERSON STATION, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The widow and two young children of a fallen solder from Long Island received the surprise of a lifetime on Tuesday.
Four months after Staff Sergeant Dashan Briggs was killed in Iraq, his community came together to help his loved ones. Briggs was one of four members of the New York National Guard killed when their military helicopter crashed in the western part of the country.
The 30-year-old hailed from Port Jefferson Station on Long Island.
"He's my son, and any mother that loses a child... it will hurt for a long time, so I'm getting there," Briggs' mother, Rosemary, said.
His parents may still be grieving, but they say they've found some peace of mind after the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced they'd pay the mortgage on the home of their son's widow and two young children.
"To be able to stay in our home forever and where our memories were made, I won't have to work multiple jobs and I can be there for my kids, I'm forever grateful," Briggs' widow, Rebecca, said.
Tunnel to Towers donated money, the community contributed, and a final donation was offered from Caliber Home Loans to help hit the goal.
"Without men like Dashan Briggs, who stepped forward and are willing to serve, we wouldn't have the country we have today and that's a fact," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.
Tunnel to Towers honors the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller, who died in the September 11th terror attack. The foundation raises money for members of the military and first responders who are injured or killed.
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