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Group pays mortgages of fallen state trooper, firefighter

December 26, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — A foundation that supports the families of first responders and military personnel who have died in the line of duty has paid off the mortgages of a firefighter and a state trooper from Massachusetts as part of its annual Season of Hope campaign.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation this week paid off the mortgages of the families of trooper Thomas Clardy and Newburyport firefighter Brett Burkinshaw.

Clardy, 44, was killed in March 2016 on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Charlton when he was struck by a vehicle during a traffic stop. He left behind a wife and six children.

“The holidays can be a difficult time for my children without their father,” his wife, Reisa, said in a statement. “Having the mortgage paid off during the Season of Hope helps us to have faith, joy and happiness during the holiday season.”

Burkinshaw, 47, died in July after a 19-month battle with job-related brain cancer. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl, and their daughter.

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“Home is where the heart is, and where we have so many happy memories with Brett. Knowing that my daughter and I will have the security of our forever home being mortgage-free is impossible to put into words,” Cheryl Burkinshaw said in a statement.

The families of Little Rock, Arkansas, Fire Battalion Chief Edward Louis Karriem; Detroit Police Officer Myron Anthony Jarrett; and Kalamazoo, Michigan, sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Proxmire, also had their mortgages paid.

Tunnels to Towers was founded in honor of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter who died responding to the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.