Carson

On Friday night, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced it has paid off the mortgages on homes of country singer turned police officer Jeff Carson and five Gold Star families, including one from Thompson's Station, per a press release. 

The announcement was made during the Foundation’s Never Forget Concert at downtown's Wildhorse Saloon, which featured performances by Old Dominion, Brantley Gilbert, Darryl Worley and Willie Shaw. Nearly 750 first responder and military families attended the invite-only concert.

Following a patriotic parade down Broadway, Tunnel to Towers President and CEO Frank Siller kicked off the concert by announcing the Foundation paid off the Carson family’s mortgage. Carson was an award-winning country singer and songwriter. He later became a police officer in Franklin. In March, Carson died of a heart attack. The Carson family attended the concert to accept the Foundation’s gift.

“Thank you all for being here this evening. I think we thought we were just being invited. Jeff just would’ve never believed all of this," said Carson’s wife, Kim. "There has been so much happening in these last few weeks and we’re just so thankful, we’re grateful.”

 

Tunnel to Towers also announced it paid off the mortgages on the Tennessee homes of five fallen military heroes.

Army Sergeant First Class Ofren “AC” Arrechaga, from Thompson’s Station, Tennessee died in a small arms fire in 2011 in Afghanistan. Arrechaga, who was born in Cuba, served for 10 years and accumulated an abundance of awards, including the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and many others. He left behind his wife, son and daughter.

 

U.S. Army SPC Russell Shane Hercules Jr., from Clarksville, was killed serving in Afghanistan in 2009. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart for his bravery and courageous deeds. He was just 22 years old and left behind his wife Victoria, his two children and two stepchildren.

 

U.S. Army SGT Louie Ramos, from Clarksville, died in May 2011 from injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit in Afghanistan. Ramos received several awards while serving, including the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal, the Air Assault Badge,and the Parachutist and Pathfinder Badge(s). He is survived by his wife, Yesenia, two children and a stepson.

 

U.S. Army SGT William Bernard McKenna, from Mount Juliet, died three days after Christmas in 2010, losing his battle with T-cell Lymphoma. It was less than a year after he came home from his second and final tour in Iraq. He is survived by his wife, Dina and his two daughters.

 

USMC Captain Travis Walker Brannon, from Nashville, died in 2019 in a training accident. During his time served, he was awarded the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Brannon was 30 when he died. He is survived by his wife, Virginia, and his daughter.

 

During the concert, Siller also announced new details regarding the Foundation’s Veteran Homelessness program, which is working to eliminate veteran homelessness throughout the country. The Foundation will be providing housing for over 500 veterans by the end of the year in three communities: Riverside, Calif., Los Angeles, Calif., and Phoenix, Ariz. As part of the program, the Foundation will be working with U.S. VETS and the American Legion to also provide comprehensive care, such as mental health and addiction services, and skills training.

 

“You see what we do for our fallen first responders, you see what we do for our gold star families, and you see what we do for our catastrophically injured service men and women, and now tonight, the official announcement of our program and our promise to eradicate homelessness amongst our veterans," said Siller. "It is an enormous undertaking, but you know what? I’m not worried. And you want to know why I’m not worried? Because we have all of you."

 

Siller also shared at the concert that country music star Lee Brice, who is starting his “Label Me Proud Tour,” committed to donating a dollar per ticket to Tunnel to Towers and Folds of Honor to recognize our country’s heroes.