'The kids will grow up in this house': Charity to pay slain NYPD cop's mortgage

To date, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has spent more than $250 million to support first responders and their families

By Ann Marie Barron
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The family of an NYPD highway officer killed this week by a hit-and-run driver will have its home mortgage paid in full by Staten Island's Tunnel to Towers Foundation, the foundation announced today.

Officer Anastasios Tsakos, a married father of two young children from Long Island, was working a fatal accident scene at about 2 a.m. Tuesday, April 27, on the Long Island Expressway when police say a woman veered into him and fled the scene.

Officer Anastasios Tsakos
Officer Anastasios Tsakos (Terence Monahan via Twitter)

Tsakos, 43, leaves behind his wife, Irene; a 6-year-old daughter, and a 3-year-old son. He was a 14-year veteran of the NYPD.

Tunnel to Towers Chairman and CEO Frank Siller, of Westerleigh, spoke with Tsakos' widow to personally inform her that she would never have to worry about making another mortgage payment.

Tsakos' brother, Teddy, has said Irene had expressed concern that she and the kids might not be able to stay in their home, just purchased last year.

"She told me what are we going to do now? Am I going to have to move again?," the late officer's brother said. "Two hours later, Frank called and said, 'don't worry the kids are going to grow up in this house.'"

The driver was arrested shortly after the crash. Police said she was driving under the influence and with a suspended license.

"We are devastated by this tragic loss," said Siller. "Officer Tsakos was one of our city's heroes who went to work to keep us and our city safe and he did not make it home to his wife and children. A family went to bed and woke up to the unimaginable news that they would never see their husband and father again."

Siller started the Tunnel to Towers Foundation with his siblings in memory of their brother, Stephen, an off-duty New York City firefighter who was killed while responding to the World Trade Center on 9/11.

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

The foundation has also provided smart homes to disabled veterans across the country and closer to home, and has pledged $3 million to assist healthcare workers battling the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

To date, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has spent more than $250 million to honor and support first responders and veterans and their families.

[NEXT: 10 first responder charities to donate to]

(c)2021 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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