CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The mortgage of the late Corpus Christi police officer Alan McCollum will be paid by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
McCollum was killed in the line of duty by a drunk driver during a routine traffic stop on Jan. 31 along South Padre Island Drive.
McCollum leaves behind his wife, Michelle, and their three daughters, Hannah, Carissa, and Liliana.
“This beautiful gift that Tunnel to Towers is presenting to my family is priceless," Michelle McCollum said. "About 7 years ago, we decided, after Alan's retirement from the Army, to finally move back home. Home for me was South Texas. Alan was from Reno, Nevada, but for him, home was anywhere with me and the girls.
"We packed up and moved home, not really knowing where we would settle in terms of a home. We debated between buying or building. Then one day, on a long drive that Alan took, he came across a neighborhood just outside the city. He saw empty lots with lots of possibilities. After taking me to see the land, 1 acre, I knew that look in his eyes, this would be our home one day.
"Months later, after we went through financing, we bought the land then eventually built our home on this land. Almost a year later, our home was completed. We spent many years traveling where the Army took both he and I. We lived in various homes along the way, never really planting roots. This home, we saw it being built and we both took pride in home ownership.
"We sat with the architect planning our home, then saw it come to fruition with the construction. We laid our hands on the wet cement outside our garage to mark our home as ‘ours’. We put Bible scriptures on the wood beams as the framing was going up. Each one of us picked out a Bible scripture thanking God for this beautiful home that one day we would be spending our days and nights in. We moved in just before Mother's Day in 2013.
"About that same time, Alan was starting his career with the Corpus Christi Police Department. Our prayers were answered in this home. We have loved, laughed, cried and danced in this home. Our youngest daughter, Liliana, only really remembers THIS home, as all the other homes prior, she was too young to enjoy.
"Living in this home and eventually gifting it to our girls, means it stays in our family. Alan's dreams came to life in this home, as we often talked about our past, present and future in this home. It means we continue to live for Alan in this home. It means his memory stays in this home.
"There are so many reasons for this gratitude my family feels for this gift that you are giving us and thank you is not enough, Alan was a wonderful man, I am grateful God brought him into my life 16 years ago and he provided a future for us by building us this home. On the morning of his death, I can remember it like it was yesterday. He woke up, made breakfast for us and got our daughter to school. We said our good-byes, hugs and kisses, as he set off to work later that day. In our home, we shared our final, face-to-face goodbye. That memory will remain in my heart forever. I also received the news of his passing at the front door of my home. Although that was the hardest day in my life, my daughter will remember that morning forever, too. Her memory will be of her dad, smiling as he served her breakfast. The sound of him coming home after work. Him chasing her around our home, and so many other memories that have been made in this home for her and for me and one day for her kids that will only know Alan through the pictures all over the walls of our home and our memories of him. That is what it means to us.”
McCollum spent seven years with the Corpus Christi Police Department and was a member of the CCPD SWAT Team and CCPD Honor Guard.
Prior to serving his community as a police officer, McCollum served his country for 21 years as a parachute rigger in the U.S. Army. He was honored with many decorations and awards, including a Bronze Star.
As a police officer, McCollum earned a life-saving award for saving a person from a fiery crash in January 2019.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s Fallen First Responder Home Program, created in 2015, pays off the mortgages for the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty who leave behind young children. The Foundation’s goal is to ensure stability and security to these families facing sudden tragic loss.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is committed to paying off the McCollum family’s mortgage.
“Officer McCollum spent more than half of his life, nearly three decades, keeping his country and his city of Corpus Christi safe. His death is a senseless tragedy - something we unfortunately see all too often. It is an honor to take care of his family, as he took care of so many of ours. Michelle and her daughters can now be assured that the home their family built together will be theirs forever,” said Tunnel to Towers Chairman and CEO Frank Siller.
The foundation honors the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller, who died in the line of action in New York City while in service on Sept. 11, 2001.
For more information about the Siller foundation, check out their website here.