Two Northwest Florida families were among three Florida Gold Star families who were surprised last week to have their home mortgages completely paid off.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation paid off the mortgages for families in Navarre, Niceville and Nokomis. The Tunnel to Towers Gold Star Family Home Program honors the legacy of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country by paying off the mortgage or providing the surviving spouses and young children with mortgage-free homes.
Foundation Chairman and CEO Frank Siller surprised all three families with the news their mortgages had been paid in full while on stage at the FOX Nation Patriot Awards, held at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida.
Related:New nonprofit to help Gold Star families ready to introduce itself to Pensacola
FOX Nation’s Patriot Awards honors America’s most valiant, including military veterans, first responders, and other everyday heroes.
“We are here to celebrate everyday Americans who do amazing things, and there is nothing more amazing than volunteering to serve our country or community. I am honored to announce that Tunnel to Towers, with the support of Americans across this great country, will now be taking care of your family the way your husband took care of us,” Siller said.
Marine Corps Capt. Dustin Lukasiewicz
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Dustin Lukasiewicz of Navarre was killed May 12, 2015, in a helicopter accident while on a humanitarian mission in Nepal.
Throughout his military career, Lukasiewicz was deployed six times to Afghanistan, Okinawa, Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines, and Nepal. He leaves behind his wife, Ashley, and their two children.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. David Meadows
Navy Lt. Cmdr. David Meadows of Niceville suffered a fatal heart attack June 30, 2020, while on base that was attributed to his military service.
Meadows enlisted in the Navy in January 2001 as a Photographer’s Mate and then was selected as a Second Class Navy Deep Sea Diver. He then graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ocean Engineering from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Meadows was selected to be an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer. He deployed twice with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Six to the Arabian Gulf. He is survived by his wife, Cynthia, and two daughters.
Army Chief Warrant Officer Stephen Michael Shull
Army Chief Warrant Officer Stephen Michael Shull of Nokomis lost his four-year battle with metastatic lung cancer on Nov. 1, 2020. He was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2016 believed to have been caused by burn pit exposure from his service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Shull served with the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army. He deployed to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2012. He went on to serve his community with the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office as a pilot with the Aviation Unit. He leaves behind his wife, Kathleen, and four children.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation has set a goal to reach 1,000 mortgage-free homes delivered across the country to the nation’s military and first responders, by the end of the year. Donors can support the mission to support these American heroes and their families by going to T2T.org.