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Her husband died in the military. On the 9/11 anniversary, she was given a free home

What it’s like to get a mortgage-free home

Gold Star widow Sarah Schaaff talks about how the Tunnels to Towers Foundation has impacted her life by giving her a house and supporting her after her husband, Marine Cpl. Collin Schaaff, died in a military transport plane crash last year.
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Gold Star widow Sarah Schaaff talks about how the Tunnels to Towers Foundation has impacted her life by giving her a house and supporting her after her husband, Marine Cpl. Collin Schaaff, died in a military transport plane crash last year.

American flags sailed toward the ground as skydivers parachuted into the backyard of Gold Star widow Sarah Schaaff’s new house, which was given to her mortgage-free on Tuesday.

“Thank you to Tunnel to Towers for building this home and making me a part of it and just everything that you guys have done,” said Schaaff, who has a 2-year-old and an infant. “Georgia is my home, and now, I have a forever home where me and the girls can stay forever.”

The foundation gave Schaaff and her family the house after Schaaff’s husband, Marine Cpl. Collin Schaaff, lost his life when his military transport plane crashed in Mississippi last year.

The Tunnels to Towers Foundation was established in honor of firefighter Stephen Siller who lost his life in 9/11. Schaaff received the house on the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

“We could’ve stayed mad. We could’ve been upset. That isn’t what happened,” said John Hodge, chief operating officer of Tunnels to Towers. “Let’s take care of the guys who went over to take care of us.”

The Tunnels to Towers Foundation revealed Schaaff’s new home from behind a flag at 9:59 a.m. — the exact moment the South Tower collapsed.

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Gold Star widow Sarah Schaaff walks into the new room of her daughter, Guinevere, after the Tunnels to Towers Foundation gave her a house on Tuesday. Jenna Eason jeason@macon.com

“Being given something on such a special day that means so much to everyone else, I know it would mean a lot, and it does mean a lot to me,” Schaaff said. “It’s something I could never say thank you enough for.”

Schaaff said she was happy to see photos of her husband throughout her new home.

“This has been a very difficult time for me, but we’re working through it,” Schaaff said. “Now, I get to have a home that I get to have him still be a part of and still be a part of our children’s lives.”

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