NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Mets rookie Pete Alonso earned $1 million when he was crowned winner of the 2019 Home Run Derby.
That’s nearly double his salary.
The 24-year-old promptly told ESPN he’ll donate 5 percent of his winnings to Wounded Warriors and 5 percent to the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation.
"I have the utmost respect for the people that put their lives on the line every single day and I just want to show my gratitude,” said Alonso. "I just want to show my gratitude because a bad day for me is a lot different than a bad day for the service men and women that serve this country."
Frank Siller says his brother Stephen Siller, who died on September 11 after running through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel with his firefighting equipment, would be thrilled. He was a Mets fan.
“It's just so nice. He's smiling up there looking down at Pete and saying, 'Pete you did the right thing.' My brother did the right thing almost 18 years ago when he ran through the tunnel to the towers where he gave up his life with 60 pounds of gear on his back, and when he ran through that Brooklyn Battery Tunnels and now Pete Alonso is doing the right thing in helping the greatest of all Americans,” said Siller.
Tunnel to Towers has built 85 smart homes for disabled veterans and 30 homes for Gold Star families.
"We were just blown away that this young kid, cause he's young to me that's for sure, had the wherewithal to know about what we do and the important work that we're doing and he wanted to join our team," said Siller, who hopes this will inspires more generosity.
He said if everyone would donate $11 a month Tunnel to Towers could take care of all disabled veterans and Gold Star families.
Siller hopes to thank Alonso in person and introduce him to one of the wounded veterans his donation will help.
"Somebody who we're going to be building a house for in the very near future and I'm going to let him know the difference he made in this young man's life and others," Siller said.