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Pasco gets a piece of the World Trade Center, and a community to aid first responders and veterans

A piece of the World Trade Center molded to resemble the towers that fell in 2001, sitting on a table, in front of a large fire truck.
Sky Lebron
WUSF Public Media
The heavy piece of steel will be framed and kept at a Pasco County Fire Rescue station.

The Tunnels to Towers Foundation — which will provide 76 mortgage-free homes to first responders and Gold Star families — donated the piece, which will be kept as an inspiration in a Pasco County fire station.

A piece of 9/11 history is being brought all the way from New York to Pasco County Fire Rescue to honor first responders.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which provides homes to first responders and their families, along with homeless and injured veterans, is donating a piece of the World Trade Center's North Tower to Pasco County Fire Rescue to keep at their station.

“When they called us a month ago saying they were going to be bringing a piece of the steel from the World Trade Center, we were just shocked,” Pasco Fire Rescue Chief Scott Cassin said.

The piece, which weighs more than 100 pounds, was molded to closely resemble the two twin towers. Cassin says it will be framed and kept as an inspiration in a Pasco County fire station.

The foundation has been deeply connected to the Pasco County area since last year, after announcing the construction of a first-of-its-kind 96-home community called the "Let Us Do Good Village."

The community will provide 76 mortgage-free homes to first responders their families, and Gold Star families. Another 20 mortgage-free properties will be constructed as SMART homes built specifically for injured veterans who need special accommodations. That could range from rising cabinets, to automated technology that help with freedom of movement.

Rendering of a house in the 'Let us do good village' community, with a large front yard during the evening time.
Tunnel to Towers
A rendering of one of the customizable designs that Tunnel to Towers will offer to families of first responders, Gold Star families, and homeless and injured veterans.

Matt Mahoney, Tunnel to Towers’ executive vice president, says the community will be a rare opportunity for the families there.

“Being able to be in a community where the other families have all made the same sacrifice, have gone through very similar challenge, it provides a unique opportunity for these families to help heal, because they know that they're definitely not alone,” Mahoney said.

Mahoney says about 20 of the homes have already been planned out. When a family shows interest in moving to the community, they’re given a list of options that they can customize to make sure the home fits their needs.

“It’s not about rushing and filling it up with people,” Mahoney said. “It’s about getting the right people in the right homes for them.”

Mahoney says the community in Pasco will potentially lead to similar communities in other areas of the country.

“I can't tell you the number of people that, once we announced where we're doing this, have called from all over the country to say ‘I'd like to donate some land here and donate some land there to create something similar,’” Mahoney said. “It's really, really inspiring.”

The first three homes are expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Mahoney says there’s a distinct connection between the community being built, and the donation of a piece of the World Trade Center to Pasco County Fire Rescue.

“We're entrusting almost 100 families of ours here in Pasco County,” Mahoney said. “I think it's really important that we tie ourselves to the community because these are the men and women that put themselves on the line to help our families here down in Pasco County.”

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