PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Editor's Note: The video above is from Deputy Magli's funeral when his wife Stephanie shares a heartfelt reflection.
The families of two Tampa Bay area fallen law enforcement officers can rest easy in their own homes – forever.
Thanks to a nonprofit, the families of fallen Tampa Police Department Master Patrol Officer Jesse Madsen and fallen Pinellas County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Magli have their mortgages paid off in full.
Madsen was killed March 9 when he intentionally moved his patrol car into the path of a speeding wrong-way driver on I-275, saving others, according to police.
Madsen left behind his wife Danyelle Madsen, who is also a police officer, and their three children.
Tunnel to Towers told Danyelle Madsen in a private ceremony that her mortgage was paid in full.
“After hearing the news about my husband everything was upside down and surreal. In the days that followed one of my worries was having to move from the house that our family made our home," Danyelle Madsen said in a statement. "How do I return to my job as a police officer to pay a mortgage with my kids begging me not to return for fear of losing another parent?"
"My husband was not only the love of my life but our protector, our sense of security and protection and it was all gone in the blink of an eye. I felt scared and all alone even with people flooding our home with support. The Foundation restored a huge part of my sense of security, and I can never thank you enough," she said.
Pinellas County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Magli was killed Feb. 17 while trying to deploy "stop sticks" to end a chase with a suspected drunk driver in Tarpon Springs. The driver crashed into Magli. Magli was then pinned under his SUV and died.
He is survived by his wife Stephanie and two young daughters.
Tunnel to Towers says it has ensured Deputy Magli's family can stay in their home "forever."
"Knowing my home is paid off is such a huge weight off my shoulders. To know that our two young children will always have a roof over their heads and they can grow up in this home like we always dreamed leaves me speechless. I cannot be more thankful or honored that Tunnel to Towers provided our family, my children with the ability to stay in the home that Michael and I created together,” Stephanie Magli said in a statement.
According to a release, these mortgage payoffs were part of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation's Fallen First Responder Program. The program "pays off the mortgages for the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty with young children."
The organization, Tunnel to Towers was formed after Sept. 11, 2001 and supports America's veterans, fallen first responders and Gold Star families, according to its website. To highlight the organization's 20th anniversary, Tunnel to Towers says it has a mission to deliver 200 mortgage payoffs of mortgage-free homes by the end of 2021.
- Hurricane Elsa: Tampa Bay in forecast cone for Category 1 storm
- Sha'Carri Richardson apologizes after positive drug test disrupts her Olympic plans
- Devastated condo community looks to Biden visit for comfort
- Bodies of 2 children found in rubble of Surfside collapse, mayor says; number of deaths climb to 18
- Game 3 preview: Lightning striking first has winning results in playoffs
- Bill Cosby freed from prison after sexual assault conviction overturned
- A Frank Conversation: New podcast explores race, religion, politics and more
►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app
►Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter