PLACERVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) -- As tributes pour in for fallen Deputy Brian Ishmael, a nonprofit is working to make this devastating loss a little easier on his family.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation is ensuring the deputy’s family will always have a place to call home, according to officials.
El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agnostini read a letter Saturday morning from Deputy Brian Ishmael’s widow, Katie, describing the house the couple, along with their three children, always dreamed of owning.
"Years ago, Brian and I began saving money for our family's forever home," read D'Agnostini. "In May we found it. The house checked every box on our list. All of our hard work had paid off and on June 7th, we moved into the place we would call home for the rest of our lives together.”
A fantasy that was short-lived. Deputy Ishmael was shot and killed Wednesday, responding to a reported theft at an illegal marijuana grow in Somerset.
As his family mourns this unthinkable loss, they’re getting help from a nonprofit to stay in their house. The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is offering to pay off their mortgage in full.
“It’s making it possible for me to continue with my husband's dream of raising our children in a beautiful home with lots of space to run and to explore their own passions in life,” read D'Agnostini.
“It was important to try to give this family some stability and comfort in this time,” said Foundation Board Member Jennifer Brekke.
The organization has paid off mortgages for roughly 40 families of first responders killed in the line of duty since 2015, including for Newman Corporal Ronil Singh.
“Nothing, I say, will take the pain away. I know exactly how you guys feel right now," said Singh.
Singh's brother, Reggie, says the nonprofit’s donation made all the difference for his family after the Corporal was killed in December.
“It was a huge relief. Brian’s family now needs our help. He put on that badge to protect us. It’s our time to pay back,” said Singh.
A small price to pay to keep a family home, after they paid the ultimate price.
“It’s humbling to know that there are organizations and heroes out there who support our heroes every day. And know that they’re there for us when one of us cashes that ultimate check," said Singh.