The Stephen A. Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced Friday it would pay off the mortgage of NYPD Detective Dalsh Veve, who in June 2017 sustained a traumatic brain injury after he was dragged for almost three blocks by a teen driver in East Flatbush.
Known for paying off the mortgages for families of officers killed in the line of duty, the organization chose Veve as the first of 36 heroic firefighters and officers in 36 cities to be honored during a 36-day “Season of Hope” campaign.
Veve’s injuries left him wheelchair-bound and he requires 24-hour care for the rest of his life. His primary caretaker is his wife Esther, a nurse.
Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, said he felt that his organization had to step up once they learned about Detective Veve’s injury.
“It is our duty and our responsibility to make sure that we are going to be there for the families that are paying these prices,” Siller said at a Dec. 18 press conference at One Police Plaza. “We better make sure that we are there for their families.”
NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea thanked the Tunnel to Towers Foundation for its tireless work supporting and honoring first responders on behalf of all the men and women of the New York City Police Department.
“I could not begin to describe how thankful we are. It is truly a symbol that we hope that we can come together not only as New Yorkers but as a nation to honor the sacrifices of our men and women on the front lines day in and day out,” he said.
He also addressed the fateful night that changed the life of the Veve’s family forever.
“No person, no police officer, or anyone else deserves what happened that night. Dalsh is a truly remarkable shining member of our police department, and I couldn’t be more proud of him,” the commissioner added.
NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan recalled the night he met Esther after her husband had been seriously injured in the line of duty. He described her as “Probably the most amazing woman I’ve met in my life, standing side by side with Detective Veve.”
Moved, Esther thanked the Tower to Tunnels Foundation for paying her family’s mortgage.
“No more worries, no more concerns, no more monthly reminders,” said the nurse, who at times has to take a leave of absence to care for her husband. “The peace of mind knowing if or when things are difficult, my family life will be less affected. The peace of mind knowing I have options to focus on what matters most.”
The Stephen A. Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was created in memory of FDNY firefighter Stephen Siller of Squad 1 in Brooklyn, who ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel on Sept. 11, 2001. With 60 pounds of gear strapped to his back, Siller — one of 343 firefighters killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks — ran towards the World Trade Center.
In December 2019, a jury found driver Justin Murrell not guilty of attempted murder charges stemming from the June 2017 incident. He was instead convicted of first-degree assault in the case and sentenced to 16 months to four years in prison.
This story first appeared on AMNY.com.