Thanksgiving Surprise: Family of Fallen Soldier Gifted Home for the Holidays

Terrence Hinton
Tunnel to Towers

The family of a fallen soldier now has a place to call home just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday this year.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation — an organization named after a New York City firefighter who died while saving others during the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center — awarded three mortgage-free homes to Gold Star families this year, and Jillian Hinton’s family was one of the families chosen.

“There are no words on earth that can actually describe the level of excitement and gratitude I have,” Hinton told WFLA.

Hinton’s husband U.S. Army Sgt. Terrance Hinton died in 2017 after the military vehicle he was riding in Hawaii crashed. He left behind his wife, daughter Cayleigh, and stepson Christian.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation collects donations from the public and uses the money to build homes. Over the past few years, the organization has gifted homes to at least 40 Gold Star families. The organization has also gifted custom-built mortgage-free homes for veterans around Veterans Day.

“It is the most humbling experience possible,” said Chris Brandt, a representative for the organization.  “I’m a father of three children and to see the smiles on the children’s faces, specifically, is the most heartwarming thing you could do.”

Hinton recently moved her family from Illinois to Florida and cannot wait to spend the holidays in her brand new home.

“It’s the deepest feeling of gratitude and warmness I’ve ever felt in my life,” she said.

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