The charity Warriors for a Cause participated in its sixth straight Tunnel to Towers run on Sunday.
“It was a magnificent day,” Tony Lubrano, president of Warriors for a Cause, said.
Warriors for a Cause is a 501(c)(3) group based in Mineola that raises money to donate to other foundations and charities, while getting heavily involved in event planning and community activities.
The Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk commemorates the service of firefighter Stephen Siller, who perished at the World Trade Center the day of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Siller had just gotten off of a shift at Brooklyn Squad One when he heard news of the attack.
“It’s an amazing story,” Patricia Palmeri, treasurer of Warriors for a Cause, said. “What he did that day and why we participate in this every year.”
Siller returned to Squad One, got his gear and drove his truck to the Brooklyn entrance of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, which was already closed to traffic for security purposes. Siller ran from the tunnel to the towers, where he died helping in the evacuations. The yearly 5K follows the footsteps of Siller on that day in 2001.
“We’ve had hundreds of people sign up,” Palmeri said. “It’s gotten bigger every year since we first got involved with the Stephen Siller foundation.”
This year, Warriors for a Cause raised $20,120 to donate to the Stephen Siller foundation by offering registration packages. The packages include registration for the 5K, the event shirt, a warriors team shirt, breakfast, round-trip transportation from Chaminade High School and lunch.
Warriors for a Cause delivered close to 350 participants to the walk on seven buses.
“It was so spectacular,” Lubrano said of the run and walk. “When you come out of the tunnel on the other end in Manhattan, and the sun is shining all day, like it was that day, it’s beautiful.”
The Warriors have gotten heavily involved with the Tunnel to Towers 5K in New York City and the Stephen Siller foundation in particular because of the altruism of its leadership, Lubrano said.
“Usually, if a charity donates three-quarters of what they’re raising, they’re a success,” Lubrano said.
In 2017, the Stephen Siller foundation donated 93.1 percent of funds directly to programs, dedicating only 3.7 cents on the dollar to management.
“They’re a clean, family-run organization where no one takes a dime in salary,” Lubrano said.