Group pays off mortgages for first responder families

December 18, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A foundation that takes care of first responders who die in the line of duty or from illnesses caused by their jobs has paid off the mortgages on three homes in South Carolina.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation said it paid off the mortgages for the families of North Myrtle Beach Public Safety Sgt. Gordon William Best, who died in a wreck Jan. 1 and the Myrtle Beach home of retired New York City Police Det. James Giery, who died of cancer in September 2016. It also purchased a mortgage-free home for the family of Marion County deputy Jonathan Price, who died in a crash Jan. 6

Best was responding to a shots fired call when he lost control of his cruiser on a wet street and crashed into a utility pole, investigators said.

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Taylor Best said the generosity of the Tunnel to Towers Foundations means she won’t have to move her children out of the only home they have known.

“It feels so nice knowing that the financial burden of our mortgage has been alleviated and that my children and I can stay in the home where so many of their memories were made with their daddy,” she said in a statement released by the foundation.

Price was killed when his patrol car collided with another vehicle. The other driver also died.

Price’s widow, Elizabeth, told the foundation she can plan for the future of their three young children with confidence without a monthly house payment.

Giery died of cancer related to his service in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He was the fourth generation in his family to work for New York City police and left behind his wife and three children, the foundation said.

“Providing financial security and a comfortable home for his family was very important to my husband. With the help of the Foundation, it feels as if he’s continuing to do that, even when he can’t be here in person,” Catrine Giery told the foundation.

The three homes in South Carolina are part of the 135 mortgages the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has paid off in 2021. The goal is to get to 200 homes by the end of the year.