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Foundation To Pay For Home Mortgage, Repairs For Family Of Fallen Firefighter

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A nonprofit organization says it'll pay off the mortgage of a Long Island firefighter who died in the line of duty.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation said Tuesday it'll also cover any future home renovation costs for his family.

Joseph Sanford Jr., who volunteered with Long Island's Inwood Fire Department, died Dec. 23. He was 43.

The nonprofit plans to raise more than $300,000.

Newsday reported that the mortgage holder, Bank of America, will match up to 50 percent of what the foundation raises.

The foundation also has paid off the mortgages and are paying for renovations on the homes for the families of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were gunned down in their squad car in Brooklyn in December.

"We're here saying to you that we haven't forgotten," foundation President Frank Siller said during a news conference outside Liu's home in Bensonhurst on Tuesday.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was created to honor a firefighter who was killed on 9/11. The organization also builds "smart homes" for severely injured service members.

Each fall, it hosts the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk through the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel.

The run follows the footsteps of Stephen Siller. On 9/11, he abandoned his truck and ran through the tunnel with all his gear toward the World Trade Center. He was killed when the South Tower collapsed.

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