Photo News Release | October 26, 2021
Wells Fargo and the Helpful SoCal Honda Dealers Association donated a 2021 Honda Pilot EX through Military Warriors Support Foundation
Tustin, Calif. – October 26, 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, ahead of Veterans Day, Wells Fargo teamed up with the SoCal Honda Dealers Association and Military Warriors Support Foundation to present a payment-free 2021 Honda Pilot EX to retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Bryan Labastida on Thursday, October 21 at the Veterans Sports Park.
“We have a big blended family, with a total of six kids. Our family loves spending time together and growing closer, so we are excited for what this vehicle will allow us to do together. We’ll get to sit together comfortably in one car and go on road trips, and have more family outings,” shared Staff Sergeant Labastida. “This new vehicle will also replace our current older vehicle that is nearly 15 years old with more than 250,000 miles on it, which helps remove a significant financial burden on us.”
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. According to the Foundation, the counseling has helped families in its program pay down, on average, about $30,000 in debt.
Bryan Labastida joined the U.S. Army in 1995 at the age of 18. He completed his training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He served as a Combat Engineer in Charlie Company, 299th Engineer Battalion and 4th Infantry Division, stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. In 2004, while deployed to Iraq, Staff Sergeant Labastida was wounded in combat and later received the Purple Heart for his injuries. In 2006, Staff Sergeant Labastida was deployed back to Iraq for a second deployment. He was awarded his second Purple Heart when he was severely injured due to a large explosive device detonating near him. He was sent to Ft. Sam Houston where he stayed to recover for a year. By late 2008, he was honorably discharged from active duty, but decided to re-enlist into the National Guard where he was deployed once more to Afghanistan. He later retired from the military in 2015. Staff Sergeant Labastida received many awards throughout his 20-year military career, including the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with a Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, and more for his bravery and service. Today, he resides in Tustin, California with his wife and six children.
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 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 SoCal Honda Dealers Association
The Southern California Honda Dealers Association, made up of 52 local dealerships in the region, has dispatched its popular Helpful Honda guys in blue to surprise SoCal residents with Random Acts of Helpfulness every week for more than 14 years. Since 2007, the SoCal Honda Dealers have been demonstrating, firsthand, that they are truly Helpful… no strings attached. The Helpful Honda guys surprise residents in unexpected and meaningful ways — including volunteering and donating to food banks; handing out reusable face masks and hand sanitizers at public locations; providing kids with free books and supplies as they go back to school; pumping and paying for drivers’ gas as prices spike; rewarding outstanding teachers over Teacher Appreciation Week; helping our four-legged friends find forever homes; and much more.
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