An NYPD officer who was paralyzed three years ago when he was dragged behind a speeding car in Brooklyn, will no longer have to worry about paying the mortgage on his North Baldwin home after a donation by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
NYPD top brass and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation delivered a paid mortgage to Det. Dalsh Veve and his wife Friday as part of a plan to pay off 36 mortgages for first responders by New Year’s Day.
"On the night of June 13, 2017, Det. Veve kissed his wife goodbye and kissed his daughter goodbye and went to work like he did for 10 years protecting the community he loved," said the foundation’s chairman, Frank Siller. "While investigating a gunshot, he was intentionally struck by a gang member driving a stolen vehicle. That gang member took off and dragged him for three blocks. The injuries require care for 24 hours, 7 days a week for the rest of his life."
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation program provides mortgage-free smart homes for fallen first responders and Gold Star families. The 6-year-old program was expanded to include catastrophically injured police and firefighters like Veve, who suffered a serious brain injury and appeared at the ceremony in a wheelchair with his wife, Esther.
"We knew we had to do something for him, his wife and his daughter," Siller said. "The Tunnel to Towers Foundation believes it is our duty and responsibility, it’s an obligation, to make sure we’re there for families paying the price for the community we live in, willing to die for you and me."
NYPD Chief Terence Monahan said the department had to persuade Esther Veve, a nurse, to ask the NYPD for help and support in caring for her husband. The department also gave their daughter a PlayStation 5 during Friday’s ceremony.
"We had to convince her she’s part of this blue family and part of our family forever," Monahan said. "Being able to stand up and help this family shows the family we all are."
Esther Veve held back tears as she grasped her husband’s hand and thanked the foundation and NYPD officials. She said the help from the department and foundation would allow her to take time off work to care for her husband and focus on her daughter’s education.
"As I’ve come to accept my new norms, it comes with a lot of challenges. Many of those challenges I have no control over. Certain topics were nonnegotiable, like my daughter Darshee," Esther Veve said. "She did not need to make that sacrifice. What it feels like to be mortgage free now, is definitely a burden lifted off my shoulders. No more worries, No more monthly reminders. The peace of mind knowing when things are difficult and when I need to take a leave of absence, my family life will be less affected."