STATEN ISLAND (PIX11) — With the family of Wenjian Liu behind him, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Friday thanked a foundation started after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, for paying off the mortgages of the two officers shot in the line of duty.
"One of the things I realized on Sept. 11, when I was standing underneath the fire, and realizing how many men I was going to lose, I said to myself, 'What can we do about this?'" Giuliani recalled at a press conference at the foundation's headquarters on Staten Island. "And I said, the first thing we can do about this, we can take away their natural fears they're going to have. How am I going to live now? How am I going to take care of my children now? How am I going to take care of my house now? How am I going to survive now? At least we can take that material burden away from them. It doesn't bring back either one of these great men. But it does help."
Frank Siller started the foundation after his firefighter brother, Stephen Siller, died on September 11th. He said that when he heard Gov. Andrew Cuomo say that Liu's family worried about how they would pay their mortgage, he decided that it was keeping with the mission of the organization to help the families of Officer Liu and Officer Rafael Ramos. The foundation is going to pay off their mortgages in full.
"My mother and father taught us that the only way to live your life is that when you see somebdoay in despair you bring them some joy," Siller said. "When you see somebody that is in darkness, that you bring them light. And when you somebody that lost somebody ... that you make sure that you're there for them."
Donations can be made via the organization's website.
Pei Xia Chen, Liu's wife, and his parents, joined Siller and Giuliani, who made a donation of $20,000 to the cause. In the 48 hours since the foundation announced its intention to assume the mortgage payments, the effort has raised approximately $70,000, including Giuliani's donation.