The wife of a police officer killed in the line of duty "can't express enough thanks" to members of her Massachusetts community and beyond for helping pay off her mortgage.
A receipt for the paid-off mortgage was presented to Cindy Chesna and her children, Jack and Olivia, at a press conference Thursday morning at police headquarters in Weymouth.
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"I just want to thank the community for everything they've done for my family, my kids," she said.
Dressed in shirts that read #ChesnaStrong, the family was happy, but still emotional. Chesna's husband, Sgt. Michael Chesna, was fatally shot with his own service weapon in July by a man who used the same gun to kill a female bystander.
That's when Tunnel to Towers came in.
The organization was founded to honor New York firefighter Stephen Siller, who, per the foundation's website, drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel on 9/11, saw it was closed, and "strapped 60 lbs. of gear to his back, and raced on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he gave up his life while saving others."
The foundation now aims to "honor 9/11 by helping our nation's first responders and service member, heroes who risk their lives for us every day."
Sgt. Chesna, a decorated Army veteran, is just the kind of person the foundation aims to honor. Not long after Chesna's death, the foundation launched a campaign to pay off the family's mortgage, then contributed $100,000 to the cause. From there, Tunnel to Towers says, donations came in from every state and a number of countries around the world.
"We can't change what has been done," said Frank Siller, the foundation's chairman and CEO. "But we can make it better by coming together to lift the families."
Local news reports indicate Emanuel Lopes, the man accused of killing Chesna, will be back in court on September 19.