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COLIN RIDDLE | INDEX-JOURNAL

From left are Michael Fulghum, store manager of Sneads Carpet One Floor & Home in Greenwood, Keith Sneads, owner, and Charles Gussmann, a retired New York firefighter and volunteer for the Stephen Siller Tunnel 2 Towers Foundation, presents Carpet One with a piece of steel from the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks for their support of an initiative geared at building smart homes for disabled veterans returning from action.


All the way from New York, Charles Gussmann hand-delivered a unique piece of hardware to thank Sneads Carpet One Floor & Home on Wednesday for its contributions in benefiting Building for America's Bravest.

The initiative in association with the Stephen Siller Tunnel 2 Towers Foundation raises money to build smart homes for disabled veterans.

The foundation is named in honor of a New York City firefighter who returned to work after hearing of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, parking at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and running to the towers to lend a hand.

Siller died that day, but his mission to help carries on through the foundation that raised $12 million to rebuild homes in the attack's aftermath.

Now, in partnership with Carpet One, veterans are receiving custom-built homes to help make their daily lives easier after returning from action. Carpet One provides carpet, flooring and tile, while customers have the option of contributing $10 at checkout.

Gussmann, a Vietnam War veteran and retired battalion chief for the New York Fire Department, said if 50 percent of customers donate it would raise $4 million, which is enough for eight to 10 homes that could be built anywhere in the country.

Gussmann, who is a volunteer with the foundation, visited the local Carpet One store on Ellison Street to give thanks and present owner Keith Snead with a piece of steel from the World Trade Center.

"The story is very moving and they're doing good, not just for people in Staten Island, but for our wounded warriors, and that's a cause everyone can get behind," Snead said. "We're going to do what we can to raise money for the foundation, and if a need comes up around here with a wounded veteran, we'll do what we can to help them build it."

The foundation's goal is to build 200 homes with 20 complete and 14 underway.

The foundation also hosts a 5K run and raised funds for the families of the two New York police officers shot and killed late last year.