Nonprofit pays off mortgage for family of Georgia Tech officer who died

In June 2020, a Georgia Tech police officer died from COVID-19.

Officer James Cornacchia died June 1, 2020 after serving the Georgia Tech Police Department for almost 20 years.

Cornacchia was a husband and father, and his family said his passing away left a financial burden on top of losing their loved one.

Now, a national nonprofit has stepped in to help his family, paying off the mortgage on the house he lived at in McDonough with his wife and three sons.

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The mortgage payoff came from Tunnel to Towers, a nonprofit founded after the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

The charitable organization was founded in tribute to firefighter Stephen Gerard Siller, who lost his life while working to save others after the Twin Towers fell.

Over the years since, Tunnel to Towers has paid off mortgages for veterans, first responders, and more, in addition to working to educate others on the 9/11 tragedy, ways to help homeless veterans, and other topics.

For Christal Cornacchia, Tunnel to Towers is a source of relief.

“It has helped relieve a financial burden in our daily lives…It helps so much that I can keep a roof over my family’s heads,” Cornacchia’s wife Christal said.


The mortgage payoff for the Cornacchia family is just one of 40 the Tunnel to Towers Foundation is delivering for the 2023 holiday season.

“For most of the country, the world has returned to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. For those families who lost loved ones, there is no return to normal,” Frank Siller, Chairman and CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, said. “While the country was locked down, Officer Cornacchia was at work, answering calls for help. Tunnel to Towers pays tribute to his decades of service, by ensuring Christal and her boys will always have a place to call home.”

For all of 2023, Tunnel to Towers said they will deliver more than 200 mortgage-free homes for its Fallen First Responder Home Program, the Smart Home Program, and the Gold Star Family Home Program.

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