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$5K FOR VETERAN GAS CARDS

Chevron donates to ‘Welcome Home Heroes’

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$5K FOR VETERAN GAS CARDS

Chevron Oil Co. corporate representatives Jeanette Mulder and Marian Catedral-King show their appreciation for “Welcome Home Heroes” challenge coins they received from Gold Star dad Mike Adams, Sr....

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin


POSTED October 24, 2012 12:57 a.m.

Chevron Oil Company demonstrated their support for returning-home soldiers who have been serving their country in the War on Terror with a $5,000 check to the “Welcome Home Heroes Foundation” of Northern California.

Two corporate representatives from the San Ramon headquarters made a trip to Pastor Mike Dillman’s A Place of Refuge church on Button Avenue in Manteca Tuesday morning where they met with the veterans’ support group executive director Vincent Nastro and board chairman and Gold Star dad Mike Anderson, Sr.

The Heroes’ foundation members said the funds are slated for use in purchasing gas cards for returning soldiers who need gas money that will get them to Veterans Administration medical facilities.

The Chevron staffers were presented with traditional “Challenge Coins” from the Heroes’ foundation with the handshakes and the hugs that date back to the days of World War I in welcoming soldiers back to their homeland from Anderson and Nastro.

“We felt like we should focus on the moment,” said Marian Catedral-King, policy, government and public affairs manager for Chevron.  “A lot of military are coming home every day.  We want to get back together in 2013 to see how we can help.  We wanted to create a relationship and didn’t just want to send a check.”

Dillman and Anderson had come upon an angry group of protesters supporting a returning 41-year-old medic back in July, not knowing the other was headed for the same Chevron station on Pelandale Road at Sisk in Modesto.  Together they defused the crowd of “patriots” who had learned on Facebook that the GI had allegedly been treated with disrespect at the station after showing his military identification card.

An Air Force flight medic with a reserve unit, the soldier is now back at his civilian job with the American Medical Response Ambulance Service.  He served in the U.S. Navy in the late ‘80s, the U.S. Army National Guard in the early to mid-‘90s and up until now in an Air Force Reserve Unit.

The reservist said he had only stopped for a soft drink after work and was in his ambulance uniform – not a military uniform.  He claimed that he had been told by the clerk that they didn’t want “his type” in the convenience store after seeing his military ID. The Air Force reservist got the message loud and clear that the clerk didn’t appreciate the U.S. military being in his native country.  The serviceman responded, telling the clerk he was welcome to leave America and go back to his country.

After being home for about two hours after the incident, he put his heated experience onto Facebook and urged his friends to boycott the Chevron station at Sisk and Pelandale roads.  The Facebook notice quickly turned viral to some degree and brought a surge of comments about his posting.  Responding readers said that they would be on site with flags and signs. For the next two days they essentially circled the station.

It was that protest, with a definite show of anger that was diffused by the Manteca pastor and the executive director of Welcome Home Heroes. 

Dill man was able to secure an apology from the station’s owner and in turn convince the protestors to relent.

The reservist said he was awed to see the numbers of friends he found on the Facebook social medium supporting him.

The convenience store/service station manager reportedly denied early on that any such event had occurred that Monday some four months ago, saying he welcomed every person in the military as well as homeless people to his business.

A corporate spokesman was initially quoted as saying he could not confirm the allegations, but that he would continue to investigate the charges against the employee of the independent operation – a surveillance camera’s footage was said to be unclear.

The GI said he didn’t look at the incident as coming from Chevron, adding that he spends thousands of dollars annually on gasoline – but never again at that Modesto station. The medic noted that the word was quickly passed along from person to person on Facebook with little time lost in the gathering support of a volunteer army of his own defending his position.

The foundation website can be found at http://welcomehomeheroes.org/.

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