IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation reports the mortgage on the home of Army Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Ard has now been paid in full.
Ard, 31, of Ammon, was on his third deployment in Afghanistan when he was killed in the line of duty on August 29, 2019.
The Foundation is named after a fallen 9/11 firefighter.
Ard's wife Mary issued the following statement Friday:
"I would like to thank Mr. Frank Siller and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation for paying off the mortgage on our existing home," said Mary Ard. "On August 29, 2019 we lost the love of our lives during combat operations in Afghanistan. Our daughter Reagan, our unborn son and I will always have an empty place in our hearts because of the wonderful man we lost. Without the Tunnel to Towers support, I don't believe I would be able to stay in the house my husband made a home. This is the home where Reagan would help daddy with his woodwork projects. Dustin and Reagan would plant flowers around the yard for me to enjoy. Dustin placed neon stars on Reagan's bedroom ceiling that says, 'Daddy Loves You'. This is the place where we took our daughter 'camping'. We found out we were having a son in this home. How could I leave the home where Dustin made lasting imprints on? I have been amazed at the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, the Special Forces Community and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. The most important thing to Dustin was his family and taking care of us. To know we are continued being taken care of, I know he is truly grateful for. I am grateful that as a nation, you have supported this worthy cause. I wish I could thank you each personally for your generosity. But, in all honesty, I wish I didn't have to experience this level of support and would trade it all in for a pup tent just to have Dustin back."
The Foundation's Gold Star Family Home Program honors the legacy of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country by providing mortgage-free homes to surviving families with young children.
"There is nothing we can do to heal the loss Mary and her children will feel this Christmas," said Foundation Chairman and CEO Frank Siller. "My hope is that this gift of a mortgage payoff will provide the Ard family with some peace of mind ahead of the holidays."
This is the sixth home in the Foundation's Season of Hope, during which it will give away a home every day from now until Christmas Eve.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation was established to honor FDNY Firefighter Stephen Siller, who died in service during the 9/11 attack in New York City. The Foundation has spent over $125 million to honor and support first responders and veterans and their families. You can learn more here.