In honor of Veteran's Day, CCA Global Partners has organized it's first virtual 5k memorial fundraiser which encourages members to go out and visit their local memorials, firehouses and monuments in dedication to our nation's soldiers.
At CCA Global Partners we care about our nation’s veterans and strive to honor their legacy not just on Veteran’s Day but throughout our everyday lives. CCA has been a proud supporter of the Stephen Sillers Tunnels to Towers Foundation for six years now. This foundation recognizes the sacrifice that Stephen Siller made as a firefighter who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001. The foundation also honors the lives of the 343 FDNY firefighters, 71 law enforcement officers, and thousands of civilians who lost their lives that day.
The Tunnels to Towers foundation supports our first responders and our military through the foundation’s Smart Home program. This program builds smart homes for our most catastrophically injured veterans.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we couldn’t partake in the annual Tunnels to Towers 5K Run and Walk in New York City like we normally do. Instead, we focused on our local stores and their communities, encouraging store owners and employees to go out and visit their local memorials, firehouses and monuments in dedication of fallen soldiers. Local stores are encouraged to take photos as they explore their community and to map their complete journey to share with the CCA Global Partners community.
The idea for this virtual 5K Memorial Walk was created by our Senior Vice President of Visual Merchandising and Brand Development Theresa Fisher. Theresa visited five memorials in her hometown, walking from site to site. In all, the five monuments formed the perfect 5K and also gave Theresa the chance to learn more about this history and the people in her community.
“It was great to be able to visit these forgotten places that I have driven past so many times and never had the opportunity to just stop and sit at,” Theresa said. “It’s a really nice way to connect with your community.”
Thanks to the money we’ve raised in past years, the foundation is well on its way to provide 250 mortgage-free homes to veterans and their family members by the end of 2020. One such veteran to receive a Smart Home is Sergeant Saul Martinez, an army veteran who suffered life-altering injuries on tour in Iraq back in 2007.
This past July, Saul and his family were presented with a mortage-free smart home with beautiful new floors from Gallatin Valley Carpet One Floor & Home in Bozeman, Montana. This home was custom engineered to meet Saul’s adaptive needs, as he continues to cope with the loss of both of his legs and a traumatic brain injury.
This year, the Tunnels to Towers Foundation also made a huge effort to raise money for front line health care workers and others affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although they had to cancel their annual run, they were still able to raise 5 million dollars.
Every year that our members get to participate in the Tunnels to Towers Foundation's annual 5k, they come away with a fresh perspective and even more respect for those who serve our nation daily. Emily Dingee, CCA Global Partner's Graphic Designer explained what it meant to her to contribute to the foundation.
“Running the race was one of the most emotional experiences of my life,” Dingee said. “Not only was it a celebration of remembrance for those who passed on 9/11 but also a feeling of deep connectedness to thousands of strangers, all travelling the footsteps of Stephen Siller on that tragic day… It is something I will never forget and hope in a post-pandemic world others will be able to experience as well.”
Carpet One member Dale Jordan feels grateful to be able to participate in the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation and understands the importance of paying it forward to veterans and their families. Since much of his extended family serves the country, the foundation has become a staple in his own household.
"The memory and the feeling my wife and I experienced coming out of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is something that we will never forget," Jordan said. "While somber, the parade of memorial banners for the servicemen and women that died during the 9/11 attacks was also incredibly uplifting. For us, it illustrated the American spirit, of bravery, sacrifice, and love for each of our fellow Americans. The pride we felt knowing that we were doing our part to honor this sacrifice was incredibly gratifying. And we left the race knowing that it wasn't a question of whether we would participate in the race again, but rather when we would."
Today, the Tunnels to Towers Foundation helps military and first responders who perform essential duties to keep us safe. Learn more about the organization at its website or at Carpet One Floor & Home's Smart Home Program.