Tunnel to Towers, founded in memory of a firefighter killed during the 9-11 terrorist attacks, is funding the effort
ST. LOUIS — A national nonprofit wants to make sure fallen St. Louis Police Officer Tamarris Bohannon’s family will never have to worry about losing the home they shared together.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a national nonprofit founded in honor of a firefighter killed during the 2001 terrorist attacks, will be paying the mortgage on the home Bohannon shared with his wife and their three children.
It’s a cost normally covered by The Backstoppers, Inc., a nonprofit unique to the St. Louis area that pays for the expenses of a fallen first responder’s family in perpetuity.
The help from the national nonprofit will help the local organization save money, which can go toward the family’s other expenses, including tuition, healthcare, home repairs, credit card debt, car payments and other costs that also covers, according to Backstoppers’ Executive Director, Ron Battelle.
“We look at it in many ways as a donation because it takes care of the mortgage and allows us to use that money on other things, because it isn’t just the mortgage, we have other obligations to take care of for years,” Battelle said. “So it’s helpful.”
This is the second time the national nonprofit has paid off a mortgage for a fallen first responder in the St. Louis area. It paid for Illinois State Trooper Nick Hopkins’ family mortgage. He was shot and killed in August 2019 while serving a search warrant in Caseyville. His twins were 4 years old at the time, and he also had an infant daughter.
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Bohannon died Sunday after he was shot in the head Saturday while responding to a call for a shooting in the Tower Grove neighborhood. The gunman then barricaded himself in a stranger’s home. Officers arrested him after a 12-hour standoff. He has since been charged with first-degree murder.
Bohannon, 29, had served as a police officer in the city for almost four years. He is survived by his wife and their three children, two sons and a daughter, all younger than 10.
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Eight St. Louis police officers have been shot in the line of duty since June 1.
Tunnel to Towers Foundation Chairman and CEO Frank Siller issued a statement, which read: “Officer Bohannon was a police officer who protected the city where he was raised and where he was raising his family. When he got the call, he didn’t hesitate — he rushed headlong into a dangerous situation, because that is what heroes do. Answering a call for help cost him his life. Now, it is our turn to take care of the beautiful family he leaves behind, the same way he took care of his community.”
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s Fallen First Responder Home Program pays off mortgages for the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty who leave behind young children.
The organization pays off the mortgages through donors who give $11 a month at tunnel2towers.org. So far, the organization has spent more than $250 million to support first responders and their families, according to the organization’s website.
For more information about how to donate to The Backstoppers, Inc., visit www.backstoppers.org.