AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced Monday that it has paid off the mortgages on the homes of four Texas first responders who lost their lives to COVID-19, including Amarillo Police Department Sergeant Michael David Dunn.
Dunn, as previously reported on MyHighPlains.com, died due to COVID-19 complications on Oct. 22. He had been with the department since 1994 in a number of different positions, his most recent having been as a detective with the APD Homicide Unit.
“The importance is taking the largest financial burden from the families, when they lose a loved one, a lot of homes are financed by both parties. It is a huge burden, so any money they get from the county or the police department, they can put aside for the college fund for the children and to keep up the house too,” said John Huvane, vice president of programs with Tunnel to Towers.
The foundation’s announcement detailed that Dunn had also enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after high school and served tours in Okinawa, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Somalia before joining the APD. He is survived by his wife, Delonda, and their four children.
Delonda Dunn, the widow of Sgt. Dunn said when Tunnel to Towers reached out to her and said they were going to pay off the mortgage on the home that the family shared, she was speechless.
“I was brought to my knees. It was something that was overwhelming. It was something that was unexpected. Our mortgage was our largest monthly payment and the only debt that we had and they took that from us, giving us the assurance that we made all those memories with my husband. Dunn added. This gift from the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has blessed my family beyond measure and we are forever grateful.”
Dunn said they have been in the home since 2007.
Dunn wants her husband to be remembered as a great detective, but also as a great family man.
“Mike was very much a family man, that was his first love, he loved his job with the police department, and he held many titles over the years here. But his most important job was at home and he was a husband and a dad,” said Dunn.
Officials with the foundation said that it has been dedicated to honoring first responders for over 20 years, and aims to deliver over 200 mortgage-free homes across the United States in 2022 for first responders and their families.
“For 11 dollars a month, when something like this happens we are able to take care of that family,” said Huvane.
The foundation also paid the mortgages for San Antonio Fire Department Engineer Lyle Crawford Jr., U.S. Border Patrol Agent Ricardo Zarate, and Harris County Deputy Sheriff Shaun Waters.
Huvane added on top of taking care of first responder families through paying mortgages, Tunnel to Towers also builds smart homes across the nation for those injured in the line of duty.