By Tim Harfmann
An American war hero was the recipient of a brand new home July 2 in Staten Island.
Marine Sgt. Michael Sulsona, a Vietnam veteran known simply as Mike, rolled his wheelchair into his house for the first time.
“You always appreciate what you have, you know? But this is like a bonus,” said Sulsona.
Mike’s old home wasn’t wide enough for his wheelchair and completing daily tasks were difficult.
In this new Staten Island home, hallways are wider, the master bedroom and bathroom are on the first floor, and Sulsona won’t have to struggle to reach a cabinet.
This is all thanks to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, named in honor of the fallen September 11th responder who ran through the Battery Tunnel to save others.
Stephen’s brother, Frank, is the foundation’s chairman and CEO.
“As Saint Francis said, ‘Brothers and sisters, while we have time, let us do good.’ And today, this was very good,” said Siller.
Sulsona was 19 when he stepped on a landmine in Vietnam. He had to have both legs amputated.
For his bravery, Sulsona was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with Valor.
He and his wife, Frida, are Brooklyn natives. They grew up attending Mass at Saint Agnes and Saint Paul churches in Carroll Gardens.
Sulsona explained how his Catholic faith plays a role in life, saying, “In spirituality, you know?
You’re thankful for what you get, and you’re never going to lose by doing good for someone else.”
The 67-year-old is now an ambassador for Tunnel to Towers, reaching out to other vets and families struggling to adjust after war.
“It’s tough to get it together. I understand a lot of them just have a tough time getting through life, but we have to pull it together,” Sulsona said.