A Bossier City business has received a small piece of history that’s also making a big impact in the lives of injured service members.
Retired NYC firefighter John Turkus presented John Henson, owner of Henson Carpet One Floor & Home, a commemorative shadowbox on behalf of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Building for America’s Bravest Shadowbox Tour.
9/11 first responders from the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) have volunteered to travel across the country, visiting each Carpet One Floor & Home store in the United States, on behalf of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, named for a FDNY firefighter who died trying to save people at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Stephen had just gotten off the late shift at Squad 1, Park Slope, Brooklyn that day when his scanner alerted him to the first plane hitting the Twin Towers. He was on his way to play golf with his brothers, but called his wife, Sally, and asked her to tell his brothers that he would catch up with them later.
Stephen returned to Squad 1 to get his gear then drove his truck to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, which had already closed. Rather than turning away, he strapped 60 pounds of gear to his back and rushed through gridlocked traffic on foot.
Stephen ran from the Tunnel to the Towers that day, ultimately losing his life while saving others. Captain Cameron LaCoure with the Bossier City Fire Department said his actions are truly worth commemorating.
“People who join the fire department do so for the service. You don’t think, you just act. You are in service to act,” LaCoure said.
Like Stephen, Turkus was off duty that day, but went to his fire station, grabbed his gear and made his way to the scene. He made it to the second tour and hour after it collapsed.
Turkus said Stephen’s sacrifice is one that should never be forgotten.
“This is a lasting tribute to someone who was very dedicated to the job and to his city,” Turkus said. “This foundation has turned something negative into something positive.”
Volunteers are making the cross-country journey as a thank you to Carpet One members for their dedication and donations to the Building for America’s Bravest program. Building for America’s Bravest is a program of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation that builds Smart Homes for the most catastrophically injured service members who have returned home from combat.
Because the needs of every service member is different, each Smart Home is specifically catered to the unique needs of its recipients. Smart Homes include features such as automated doors and lighting, wider doors and special showers to accommodate wheelchairs, cabinets and counters that can be raised and lowered, and central heating and air condition systems that can be controlled by iPads.
Through community donations, the Building for America’s Bravest program can help America’s bravest military heroes support their families and live the rest of their lives as independently as possible.
John Henson said he definitely plans to display the shadowbox in his store.
“I’m grateful to see so many people come out and show their support and appreciation for this cause,” he said. “It’s very important for us to remember the people who lost their lives during this act of terrorism that happened on American soil.”
Henson Carpet One floor & Home is located at 1609 Jimmie Davis Highway in Bossier City. For more information about the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, visit www.tunnel2towers.org.