LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Since 2005, Sgt. Eddie Ryan and his family have been living a different life than ever before.
Eddie took two gunshots to the head while serving in Iraq, one of which pierced the part of the brain that governs motor functions. The costs of his continued care and physical therapy have been the subject of fundraisers that have brought the community out.
On Wednesday, members of that community came together with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation to announce a big step in that mission to help. The foundation, dedicated to helping severely wounded veterans, paid off the Ryan family’s mortgage in full, as part of their 2020 Season of Hope campaign. The family is one of 36 getting help.
Angela Ryan, Eddie’s mother, said the part that stood out to her most was getting a phone call asking her to come to the bank, not knowing what news she was about to receive. She was called again when she arrived.
“And he says ‘Mrs. Ryan, I want you to put me on speakerphone, I want you to be in the presence of the bank manager,” Ryan said, “because we’re going to pay off your mortgage.”
But, as Tunnels to Towers representative Andrew McClure spoke on the Ryan family porch on a chilly Wednesday, it was more than just the money that the Ryans had to be grateful for. Tunnels to Towers also made sizeable renovations to the family’s house, to help Eddie and his family and caregivers live more comfortably.
That work included smart controls for doors, lights and temperature; automatic doors that open by themselves, allowing Eddie easier travel around the house; a completely renovated living room and kitchen; and a new rear entrance and exit.
Work on all of those elements came together from a long list of sponsors and helpers, including Queensbury Home Depot, General Motors, PenFed Credit Union and many more.
“I would like to thank the Siller Foundation, and furthermore Tunnels to Towers,” said Sgt. Eddie Ryan. “Thank you.”
The Siller Foundation, which operates Tunnels to Towers, is named after Stephen Siller, a 9/11 first responder who died during the attack on the World Trade Center.
Eddie was also presented with an award, modeled out of steel from the World Trade Center, thanking him for his service.
Tunnels to Towers is making 36 stops in 36 days, to visit every family they are helping this holiday season.