Brother of 9/11 firefighter shares inspiring tale of heroism - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Brother of 9/11 firefighter shares inspiring tale of heroism

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK (WKOW) -- The brother of a 9-11 firefighter is sharing his heroic and tragic story from that day, all to help others in his brother's honor.

"We believe he was in the south tower,” said Frank Siller of his younger brother Stephen. “He was never recovered."

It was a gorgeous September morning, and firefighter Stephen Siller just finished his overnight shift with Squad One, the elite unit trained to rescue other firefighters. Stephen was headed to golf with his three brothers.

"We were pumped up because we're four brothers getting together to play golf,” said Frank. “Everybody very busy. Steven already with five kids … and you know, heard what happened on his scanner and he turned his truck around."

The golf date between brothers would never happen.

Stephenhad dreamed of being a firefighter since he was a kid. On September 11, 2001, he turned his truck toward the Twin Towers once he found out what was happening. He could only get as far as the Brooklyn/Battery tunnel. It was blocked, but that didn't stop him.

“There was never a doubt in my mind that Stephen did what he did. Firefighters were there, already. He loved that brotherhood. He came to a screeching halt. Got out calmly. Put his gear on. And started running through the tunnel,” Frank said. “And that tunnel is nearly two miles long."

That heroic run with more than 60 pounds of gear on his back became the force of the foundation created by Stephen's family, in his honor. "We wanted his kids to know that his dad is a hero. We didn't have any great lofty goals starting a foundation,” said Frank. “But when a friend of his came up with the idea of running through the tunnel like he did. You just know the right thing when you hear it."

The race, called Tunnel to Towers, is part of the nationally-recognized Stephen Siller Foundation. The foundation has raised more than $70 million to help children of 9/11 victims, the families of the slain Dallas police officers, wounded veterans... the list goes on.

"He would be there for anybody in an instance. He loved the challenge of being able to save people,” Frank said. “Knowing Stephen he probably liked the fear factor involved. He had guts."

Steve would turn 50 this November. When asked what kind of 50-year-old Steve would've made, Frank said “a very young 50-year-old.” Frank thought Steve would still be a firefighter. “He would have had over 20 years already. He would have been able to retire. Um, but there is no way he would retire."

And Frank has a message for the brother he lost, if he could talk to him just one more time. "Proud of you. Look what you have done with your life with your sacrifice. Mommy and Daddy are proud of you, all your siblings are. Your kids are. Your wife is. The whole community is. You did something special Steve."

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