An outpouring of support and donations continue to flow for the family of the Auburn police officer who was killed in the line of duty last month.
The most recent donation comes from a 9/11 organization that announced Tuesday it began a campaign to pay off the mortgage on the family home of Officer William Buechner.
Buechner was shot and killed in the line of duty May 19 while responding to a domestic dispute call. Two other Auburn police officers, Evan Elliott and Webb Sistrunk, were injured during the incident.
Capital murder suspect Grady Wayne Wilkes is in jail, facing numerous charges for the shooting.
Tunnel to Towers
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which was established in memory of a fallen 9/11 firefighter, started the fundraiser to help relieve some of the burdens on the Buechner family.
“It’s just one less thing they have to worry about,” Trevor Tamsen, assistant manager of media relations for the foundation, said about the mortgage fundraiser.
Buechner left behind his wife Sara and two children, McKenna and Henry. When Buechner’s wife was told about the fundraiser, she was grateful for the generosity.
“During this terrible time in my life, it is an unbelievable relief to have the burden of a mortgage lifted from my shoulders,” Sara Buechner told the foundation.
The foundation also worked with the Auburn Police Division to start the fundraiser for the family.
Auburn police Chief Paul Register is thankful for what the foundation is doing and feels Buechner would be elated to know what is being done for his family.
“Will’s family has been through a tremendous tragedy. He would be happy to know that his wife and children are being taken care of in such a way,” Register said. “This unexpected gift will make a tragic situation a bit more bearable for the Buechners and is a symbol to all first responders of how much people care.”
Within 24 hours of the foundation launching the campaign, it raised more than $15,000, Tamsen said.
The foundation is asking Americans from across the country to donate to the Buechner family as quickly as possible so the family can have the weight of mortgage payments lifted off their shoulders.
“We can’t change what has been done,” Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of the foundation, said. “But we can make it better by coming together as Americans to lift up this family and show them that they have our support.”
Buechner’s fundraiser was created as part of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s Fallen First Responder Home Program. The program is designed to help assist the families of fallen first responders, especially those with young children.
Since its creation, the program has helped 40 first responders throughout the country, according to Tamsen.
One-hundred percent of all donations raised will go directly to paying off the Buechner family’s mortgage, the foundation said.
Those wishing to donate to the fundraiser can click here.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was founded on 2001 to honor fallen New York firefighter Stephen Siller, who lost his life on Sept. 11 of that year.
To date, the foundation has spent more than $125 million to honor and support first responders, veterans and their families, according to the foundation.