SILive - November 02, 2018by Carol Ann Benanti
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- In what translates into the largest one-day golf event in New York City, the 11th annual Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation Golf Outing and Dinner is set for Monday, Nov. 12, at the Richmond County Country Club, Silver Lake and LaTourette golf courses, where more than 400 golfers and 700 dinner participants are expected to attend.
Registration and breakfast are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. with a 10:30 a.m. shotgun start.
The day on the links will be followed by cocktails at 4:30 p.m. and dinner at 5:30 p.m. in Nicotra’s Ballroom at the Hilton Garden Inn, where the selfless veterans of our nation’s military will be honored.
Frank and George Siller and siblings head up the Siller Foundation. Their brother, Stephen, a firefighter, was supposed to play golf with his brothers on Sept. 11, 2001, his day off. Instead, he ran, with 60 pounds of gear strapped to his back through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel shortly after the first hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center, to save lives at a flaming World Trade Center, only to lose his own.
Especially honored on Nov. 12 will be Staten Island Vietnam veterans, including those killed in action, POW’s or MIA’s, who never made it back from Vietnam.
During the event, a painting of Vietnam veterans, created by patriotic artist Scott LoBaido, will be part of a live auction.
The annual Hero-to-Hero Awards Ceremony will salute the 85 Staten Island Vietnam veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice, and whose names will be read aloud.
Also lauded during the event will be the families of FDNY and NYPD heroes killed in action who are receiving assistance from the Siller Foundation:
NYPD Detective Joseph Lemm, who lost his life in a helicopter crash while on duty with the Air National Guard, FDNY Lt. Christopher J. Raguso and fallen first responder FDNY Fire Marshall Chris (Tripp) Zanetis, who perished in the same Air National Guard Middle-East crash as Raguso.
What makes this year’s event extra special is that funds raised are directed toward building “smart homes” for catastrophically injured service members. The Sillers are slated to build a “smart home” in New Dorp, the first for a Staten Island Vietnam veteran. It will be built for Sgt. Michael Sulsona. A “smart home” is designed so a veteran in a wheelchair can function easily throughout, including specially designed appliances.
The home is totally mortgage-free. Sulsona stepped on a land mine in Vietnam in 1971. He lost both legs above the knees. But it didn’t stop him from earning a master’s degree and writing 23 plays, many of them award-winners, and appearing in the movie “Born on the Fourth of July.”
What’s more, Sulsona is an ambassador for Tunnel to Towers, providing guidance to other injured service members.
“The community’s generosity allows us to honor Vietnam veterans and all military service members, first responders and their families,'' said Frank Siller, the chairman and CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. "With your help, the foundation has spent more than $100 million dollars in support of those who put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe. But there is still more work to do. And events like this enable us to go forward.”
Proceeds from the event will help build more specially adapted smart homes for our nation’s most catastrophically injured service members. The price for the entire day is $195; or $85 for dinner only.
A discount s available for veterans who want to play golf or attend the dinner. Veterans — or anyone who wants to attend to salute them — can email Terri Magnuski at golf@tunnel2Towers.org or phone Jack Furnari at 718-987-1931.