IMPACT

Slain NYPD Officers' Widows Receive Over $1 Million In Donations

Maritza Ramos, left, and Pei Xia Chen, widows of slain New York City Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, receive ch
Maritza Ramos, left, and Pei Xia Chen, widows of slain New York City Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, receive checks from the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, in New York. The foundation says $860,000 has been donated and another $150,000 has been pledged to pay off the mortgages of Officers Liu and Ramos, who were killed in December while on duty in Brooklyn. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Supporters have rallied around the families of two NYPD officers who were killed days before Christmas.

The widows of slain officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu expressed their gratitude Wednesday to a room filled with cops at the Conrad New York Hotel after a nonprofit announced it has raised enough money for the widows to pay off their mortgages, New York Daily News reported.

"Nothing will ever bring my brother back," said Sindy Ramos, Officer Ramos' sister, according to the outlet. "But just to know that my sister-in-law and the boys can sleep just a little bit better amid this tragedy fills a little bit of that gap."

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation garnered about $860,000 in just the first 10 days after the officers were killed on Dec. 20, and another $150,000 has been pledged in support of the families. Donated funds that surpass what's needed for the mortgages will go toward home renovations.

Officers Liu and Ramos had been shot "execution style" in Brooklyn by an alleged gang member who claimed on social media that he was seeking revenge for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the two were "quite simply...assassinated."

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation -- created in honor of late New York City firefighter Stephen Siller, a victim of the 9/11 attacks -- helps provide mortgage-free homes for military members and first responders and their families.

"[The murderer] is going to change their families' lives forever," Frank Siller, Stephen Siller's brother and co-founder and chairman of the foundation, told CBS News New York last week. "We felt it would be something very important for us to ease some of that pain."

As New York Daily News reported, a couple donations toward the families stood out to charity officials: the largest gift, given by an anonymous donor, was for $50,000. And two Wisconsin sisters, ages 9 and 7, decided to donate $25 they'd received in holiday money.

"Words cannot express the appreciation that is in my heart," Officer Liu's widow had said to the audience in the lower Manhattan hotel.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misspelled Eric Garner's last name.

To learn more about the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, visit the organization's website here.

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

  • Pei Xia Chen (C) widow of New York Police Department (NYPD) officer Wenjian Liu cries holding a picture of her husband during
    JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images
    Pei Xia Chen (C) widow of New York Police Department (NYPD) officer Wenjian Liu cries holding a picture of her husband during a funeral in New York's borough of Brooklyn on January 4, 2015.
  • Some police officers turn their backs in sign of disrespect as Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during the funeral of New York Pol
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Some police officers turn their backs in sign of disrespect as Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Liu and his partner, officer Rafael Ramos, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
  • Some NYPD officers turn their backs while New York City mayor Bil de Blasio speaks at slain NYPD officer Wenjian Liu's funera
    shaffreytm / Instagram
    Some NYPD officers turn their backs while New York City mayor Bil de Blasio speaks at slain NYPD officer Wenjian Liu's funeral in Brooklyn on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015.
  • NYPD Officers turn their backs to a video screen as New York City mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a funeral for slain NYPD off
    rx / Twitter
    NYPD Officers turn their backs to a video screen as New York City mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a funeral for slain NYPD office Wenjian Liu on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015.
  • Officers line the street to pay respects to slain NYPD officer Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015.
    spannerjaxs / Instagram
    Officers line the street to pay respects to slain NYPD officer Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015.
  • Residents express their sympathies during the funeral for slain NYPD officer Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015.
    rx / Twitter
    Residents express their sympathies during the funeral for slain NYPD officer Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015.
  • keniph / Instagram
  • Police officers arrive to the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Police officers arrive to the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Liu and his partner, officer Rafael Ramos, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
  • New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, center, walks with his wife Chirlane McCray while arriving to funeral services for New Yo
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, center, walks with his wife Chirlane McCray while arriving to funeral services for New York City police officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Liu and his partner, officer Rafael Ramos, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • Police officers from across the country gather for the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli F
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Police officers from across the country gather for the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Liu and his partner, officer Rafael Ramos, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
  • New York City police officers march before funeral services for police officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, J
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    New York City police officers march before funeral services for police officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Liu and his partner, officer Rafael Ramos, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • Pedestrians pause outside the funeral of New York Police Department officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Pedestrians pause outside the funeral of New York Police Department officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Liu and his partner, officer Rafael Ramos, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
  • Officers pass a blue ribbon as they arrive to the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funera
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Officers pass a blue ribbon as they arrive to the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Liu and his partner, officer Rafael Ramos, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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