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DALLAS — Senseless acts of violence may be new to most of us here in North Texas, but for folks like John Hodge, the feelings are all too familiar.

Hodge’s cousin, Stephen Siller, was an NYC firefighter on September 11, 2001.

“He was off-duty,” Hodge recounted. “When he heard what was happening at the World Trade Center, calls his wife, and then turns his truck around and starts to head toward Manhattan.

“It’s total gridlock.  He abandons his truck, leaves his keys on the front seat of his truck.  Gets out, puts 65 pounds of gear on, and starts to run from where he was on that highway, through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, and through the streets of Lower Manhattan, where he eventually hooked up with his fellow members from Squad 1.  And all 12 of them perished in the collapse of the south tower.”

Hodge now runs a charity in his cousin’s honor, called the Tunnel 2 Towers Foundation.  They’re here in Dallas now, to support the families of the officers shot in last week’s ambush.

“We would like to take care of the housing needs of all the officers who were shot,” Hodge told NewsFix.  “Obviously paying particular attention to the five officers’ families who were slain.”

Hodge says they’ve already raised over half a million dollars in the first few days.

“We can’t help out with the grief,” said Hodge.  “But what we can do is take care of the everyday needs that will, in very short order, become a reality for the surviving family members.  Because we know, at least in some small way, that gives the family members some measure of comfort.”

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