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‘Great memories we cherish in our home’: Foundation pays off local Gold Star Family’s mortgage

300 flags in the fifth annual Veterans Park of Heroes display in Springfield, Mass, Nov. 2, 2020. (Don Treeger/The Republican/TNS)

A Rapid City family’s home is secure after the Tunnel to Towers Foundation paid in full the mortgage on it.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced June 30 it had paid the mortgage for the Gold Star Family of U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Seth Stehman. A Gold Star Family is the immediate family members of a fallen serviceman or woman who died while serving in a time of conflict.

MSgt. Stehman served in the Air Force for 21 years and deployed overseas several times. He enlisted in the Air Force after graduating from high school in Pennsylvania. He spent most of his military career at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

In June 2020, Stehman was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer connected to his military service. After a 21-month battle with cancer, Stehman died on Feb. 6, 2022. He left behind his wife, Jessica, and their four children, Zane, Devin, Sophia and Chloe.

“Our children lived their entire lives as part of the Air Force community and have sacrificed more than any child should. They went through so many deployments, missed holidays, birthday graduations, and gave the ultimate sacrifice when Seth passed away,” Jessica Stehman said.

“Now I can keep the home our children lived in while their dad was with us. There are so many great memories we cherish in our home, and now we will be able to live here for many years to come,” she said.

The Tunnel to Towers Gold Star Family Home Program honors the legacy of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country by paying off the mortgage or providing the surviving spouses and young children with mortgage-free homes.

This Independence Day, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation delivered more than 30 mortgage payoffs to Gold Star and fallen first responder families across the country.

“July 4th is a day we celebrate America’s freedom with barbecues, beach days and fireworks. All things we can enjoy because of our brave first responders and military members who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. Today we honor the memory of those heroes who gave up their lives by ensuring the families they left behind can stay in their homes,” said Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The foundation carries out its mission to do good by providing mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children, and by building specially adapted smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans and first responders. Tunnel to Towers is also committed to eradicating veteran homelessness and helping America Never Forget September 11, 2001. Go to for more information.


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