Stacy Ann Ellis and her two daughters stand in front of Illinois State Troopers at their home on Thursday. | Provided photo.

A non-profit organization paid off the mortgage for the family of Illinois State Police Trooper Gerald Ellis, who was killed in the line of duty by a drunk driver near Libertyville in 2019.

Stacy Ellis, the wife of Trooper Gerald “Jerry” Ellis, said she is grateful that the Tunnel to Towers Foundation is there to assist grieving families.

“Jerry always made sure our family was safe and all our needs were met. It feels that way even after his death. It’s a reminder of the man Jerry was and the career he chose,” Stacy Ellis said.

“Jerry loved his job, it was his second family. This foundation is an extension of this family. A reminder that he will always be remembered and loved,” she added.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation paid off Stacy Ellis’s mortgage in full. They also paid off the mortgages on five other fallen officers’ homes as part of their 2020 Season of Hope Campaign, which is delivering 36 mortgage-free homes in 36 days.

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Stacy Ellis said their home represents that he “had made it.” He grew up in poverty and owning his own home was his dream.

“He finished the basement with my dad, he built the deck with his friends, he remodeled the bathrooms on his own and we painted each room together,” she said. “This program will allow me to continue to raise the girls in the home he built.”

Stacy Ann Ellis and her two daughters stand in front of Illinois State Troopers at their home on Thursday. | Provided photo.

Stacey Ellis said the program is a “ray of sunshine” and it will allow them to stress less about making payments knowing they will always have a home to live in.

Her husband, Gerald Ellis, was killed in the line of duty on March 30, 2019, while traveling home in his squad car on westbound Interstate 94 near mile marker 16.75 in Green Oaks.

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A wrong-way driver was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes.

Trooper Ellis saw the vehicle, which was being driven by Dan Davies, 44, of Calumet City, traveling the wrong way and Ellis moved his squad car into the lane Davies was traveling in order to block the car from hitting anyone else.

Trooper Ellis crashed head-on with the wrong-way driver and was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville where he was later pronounced dead. Davies, who was under the influence of alcohol, also died in the crash.

Ellis was an 11-year veteran of the Illinois State Police District 15 in Downers Grove. He was also a veteran of the United States Military.

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