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Charity pays off home of local Green Beret killed in Afghanistan

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Army Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Ard, his wife, Mary, and their young daughter. | Courtesy GoFundMe

IDAHO FALLS — A charitable organization is paying off the home of a fallen Green Beret from Idaho.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Ard was killed during his third deployment to Afghanistan last month. He left behind his pregnant wife, Mary, and their young daughter.

On Thursday, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced the group is paying off the mortgage on the Ard’s Washington home.

“Dustin and I have loved this house, and because of what you are doing, it has made a lot of my stress and burden go away. I have said throughout this journey that I wish I never had to learn how supportive and thoughtful people can be, but I am truly grateful,” Mary said in a news release.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was created to honor the memory of Stephen Siller, a New York firefighter who died on Sept. 11, 2001, while working to save the lives of others.

Dustin Ard and family

“We know nothing is going to bring Dustin back. But we want to make sure they know that we’re here for them,” Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation Assistant Manager of Media Relations Trevor Tamsen said. “The war over there has been going on for a long time but we haven’t forgotten their service and sacrifice.”

Ard was Green Beret with the Army Special Forces. He died in Zabul Province after getting out of a helicopter at the start of a joint mission with Afghan commandos, The New York Times reported.

RELATED: Green Beret from eastern Idaho killed in Afghanistan

Tamsen said one aspect of the foundation’s mission is to provide mortgage-free homes to the families of fallen servicemembers.

He said because Stephen Siller left behind five young children, the foundation specifically looks to help families with young children.

“We’ve taken on the mortgage and they’ll never have to make another mortgage payment. They’ll never have to worry about losing the house where they made so many family memories. We really just want to lift this burden,” Tamsen said.

To learn more about the foundation visit tunnel2towers.org.

A GoFundMe was also created on behalf of Mary Ard by Diana Barone and Alexandria Retta that can be found here.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said Army Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Ard’s home is in Idaho Falls. That was incorrect. Ard’s home is in Washington. EastIdahoNews.com apologizes for the mistake.

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: EastIdahoNews.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.

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