Wells Fargo and Cavender Auto Group donated a 2021 Ford Explorer through Military Warriors Support Foundation
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS. – Sept, 20, 2021 – For combat-wounded veterans, transitioning from the military back to civilian life can be a challenge. That, combined with the cost of a new vehicle, can put added burdens on our nation’s military service members and their families. To help, Wells Fargo teamed up with Cavender Auto Group and Military Warriors Support Foundation to present a payment-free 2021 Ford Explorer to retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Ismael Villegas on Friday, Sept. 17, at Farris Stadium prior to the O’Connor v. Holmes high school “America’s Heroes Week” football game.
“First and foremost, having a payment-free vehicle helps remove a huge financial burden for my family. Receiving this vehicle and what it means, it’s hard to put into words,” Senior Master Sergeant Villegas said. “You work your entire military career for the service of others, and this vehicle represents the patriotism of America, helping a veteran. To know that I’ve done something for my country and to be awarded this vehicle from people who genuinely care about the military, it makes every sacrifice I had to make worthwhile.”
The donation was made through Military Warriors Support Foundation’s Transportation4Heroes program, which awards payment-free vehicles and provides one year of family and financial mentorship to combat-wounded veterans and Gold Star families. Through the T4H program, they have enabled Well Fargo vehicle recipients and their families to pay off over $740,000 in pre-existing debt.
Retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Ismael Villegas was born in Mexico City and grew up in Del Rio, Texas. Ismael had wanted to serve in the military for as long as he could remember and decided to enlist in U.S. Air Force in 1997. After graduating Combat Control School in 1999, Ismael held assignments at bases in North Carolina, Texas, Florida, and England, and was deployed around the world, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, Africa, and South America. His career included roles as Air Force Combat Controller, Special Tactics Element Leader, Combat Control Team Leader, Combat Control Recruiting Liaison, NCOIC (Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge) Assessments and Selections, Section Chief, and Liaison/NCOIC SOCOM (Special Operations Command) Warrior care Program West. Senior Master Sergeant Villegas received a variety of awards, including a Purple Heart, Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star with Valor Device with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Combat Action Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with four Service Stars, Iraq Campaign Medal with Service Star, and many more before retiring last year. He currently lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his family.
Wells Fargo Auto, a division of Wells Fargo Consumer Lending, started the Sponsored Vehicle Donation Program in 2015, and since then have worked with auto dealerships across the country to sponsor the donation of more than 50 payment-free vehicles and to provide family and financial mentoring, valued at over $1.5 million, to combat-wounded veterans and Gold Star families through Military Warriors Support Foundation’s Transportation4Heroes program.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is the leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 37 on Fortune’s 2021 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy. News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.
About Military Warriors Support Foundation
Military Warriors Support Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, founded by LTG Leroy Sisco (Ret), in 2007. Their mission is to provide programs that facilitate a smooth and successful transition for our nation’s combat-wounded heroes and Gold Star families. Their programs focus on housing and homeownership, recreational activities, transportation assistance and leadership development. Through select programs, they have awarded nearly 900 mortgage-free homes and over 100 payment-free vehicles to combat-wounded heroes, Gold Star spouses, and their families in all 50 states. In addition to the home or vehicle, the families receive family and financial mentoring. For more information, visit MilitaryWarriors.org.
About Cavender Auto Group
The Cavender Auto Group has been selling and servicing automobiles in South Texas since 1939 and today is recognized as one of the leading automotive retail families in the state. The Cavender Auto Group consists of six dealerships in the San Antonio area that include the following brands: Ford, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Land Rover, and Jaguar.
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