In honor of Independence Day, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced Thursday it has paid, in full, the mortgages held on the home of fallen Sterling Fire Captain Garrett Ramos, Chicago Police Officer Paul Nauden, and Wayne County Deputy Sheriff Sean Ian Riley.

Garrett Ramos with his wife and two daughters.

On December 4, 2021 Sterling Fire Captain Garrett Ramos was battling a fire from inside a home in rural Rock Falls. The floor collapsed and he fell into the basement, He was brought to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries. He was posthumously promoted to Captain.

Ramos grew up in Sterling, and while he didn’t intend to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the fire department, he ended up loving the profession and calling it “the best job in the world,” according to a Tunnel to Towers release.

He is survived by his wife, Brittney, and two daughters.

“In the midst of the worst reality I could imagine, Tunnel to Towers stepped in and granted me the most unexpected and generous gift—payment of our mortgage. When everything around me was crashing down, they came in and gave me and my girls stability and hope,” Brittney Ramos said in the release

Garrett Ramos and his family.

The Tunnel to Towers Fallen First Responder Home Program pays off the mortgages for the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty with young children.

Ahead of the July 4th holiday, Tunnel to Towers has paid off the mortgages on 22 homes belonging to fallen first responders in 16 states. The Foundation has ensured the families these heroes left behind will be able to stay in the homes they shared with their loved one. 

“This Independence Day, as we celebrate our freedom with fireworks and flags, I ask all Americans to take a minute to honor the memories of these fallen first responders who gave their lives to keep our communities safe,” said Tunnel to Towers Chairman and CEO Frank Siller.

“Tunnel to Towers will not forget their sacrifice and is honored to ensure that the families they left behind will always have a place to call home free from the burden of a mortgage.”

The foundation is dedicated to honoring the sacrifice of FDNY Firefighter Stephen Siller, who laid down his life to save others on Sept. 11, 2001.

Stephen Siller was one of the 343 firefighters killed on 9/11.

For more than 20 years, the foundation has supported our nation’s first responders, veterans, and their families by providing these heroes and the families they leave behind with mortgage-free homes. For more about the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and its commitment to do good, visit

Join us on our mission to provide mortgage-free homes to the heroes and the families they leave behind by donating $11 per month at