NEW YORK (WABC) -- In honor of Lieutenant Christopher Raguso, who was killed along with six others in Iraq while serving their country, The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation made their financial announcement to a packed house of first responders at Engine 249 and Ladder 113 and to Lt. Raguso's family.
"Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is going to donate the first $100,000 to pay off the mortgage," said President and CEO Frank Siller.
Holding the rank of Lieutenant in the FDNY, Raguso was a sergeant in the Air National Guard and he was a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Commack. He is survived by his wife, Carmella and his two young daughters.
Raguso's mother, Laura remembered when he told her he was rejoining the Air National Guard.
"(He said) 'because if I don't, who is going to do it?' and I begged him not to do it. He just followed his heart," she said.
Raguso's father-in-law Anthony DiCiara called him a 'real-life hero,'
"Whenever he was called upon, he went. Whether it was for the FDNY, Commack Fire Department, the Air Force, his family, his friends," DiCiara said.
Among his fellow firefighters in both departments, his loss is deeply felt.
"This loss is extremely painful for...everybody in this department," said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
Lieutenant Raguso had spent 13 years in the FDNY and had earned several citations for bravery.
"Chris is a superhero," added Siller.
CLICK HERE for more on how you can donate to the Raguso family. Donations will be added to the $100,000 to pay off the lieutenant's mortgage.
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Touching tribute for servicemember killed in Iraq helicopter crash