NEW CASTLE COUNTY, Del. - The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is honoring a fallen Delaware State Police Corporal by paying his family's mortgage.
More than four years have passed since Corporal Stephen Ballard died trying to keep his community safe. He was shot and killed on April 26, 2017, in the parking lot of a Bear Wawa after approaching a suspicious car.
He left behind a wife, Louise Cummings and nine-year-old daughter, Abigail. They received a life-changing gift from the Tunnel to Towers Foundation that's helping families across the country.
"That first year or two, a lot of people are around, a lot of people will do kind things, but to come up on the four year anniversary and to have something like this is mind blowing," Cummings said. "To have someone bestow such a gift, not only for me, but for my daughter and our family."
Cummings says she still cannot believe the foundation paid off the mortgage on her Hockessin, Delaware home. She was presented with all the paperwork on the Fourth of July in a private ceremony at her home, with Abigail making it official.
"Who would even think somebody would do something like this," Cummings remarked.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation began twenty years ago in honor of New York firefighter Stephen Stiller, who died saving others on 9-11. Its mission is to support fallen first responders and veterans by paying off the mortgages on the heroes homes.
Cummings and Ballard had only been married 18 months. They bought their house in June of 2016, and he died less than a year later.
"This was the only house that Stephen and I lived in, and to now have this as a forever home," Cummings said.
Cummings adds she thinks there was also a little "divine intervention" going on in the process, on the part of her late husband.
"I know that he wanted us to be okay, for me to be able to spend time with Abigail and not have to work so hard," she said. "This allows me to do that, which is amazing."
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