Bank provides payment-free autos to two Gold Star families in San Diego  

May 08, 2023
Collage of two photos of women sitting in the driver's seat of their new vehicles.
Gold Star family members Raiya Kimble, left, and Biani Mora in the driver's seats of their new vehicles.

The gifts are part of the U.S. Bank Driven to Serve initiative done in partnership with the Freedom Alliance 

As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting U.S. military families and to celebrate Military Appreciation Month, U.S. Bank in early May provided payment-free vehicles to two families of servicemen who were killed in the line of duty.

The vehicles – a Toyota Rav 4 and 4Runner – were given to the two families as part of the Driven to Serve initiative between the bank and the Freedom Alliance, which provides help and support to wounded troops and military families.

The gifts were presented during a ceremony hosted by the San Diego Padres at their home stadium, Petco Park, and kicked off by Tom Kilgannon, president of Freedom Alliance.

“U.S. Bank gives so much of their company and their employees’ time and resources to help our military and our veterans, and it is an honor to work with them,” Kilgannon said. “These beautiful vehicles are being presented to these families to help honor their service and let them know that their sacrifice is not going to be forgotten by a grateful nation.”

Padres CEO Erik Greupner said the team is proud to support the Driven to Serve initiative.

“There was a baseball game that was played here last night and there will be a game played here again tonight,” he said. “There’s nothing that will happen in this ballpark that will be more important than what we’re doing right now to help support these families as they continue to move forward after the lost of a loved one who bravely gave their life for this country.”

The vehicles were presented to Biani Mora and Raiya Kimble, both members of Gold Star families, a designation given to families of service members who are killed in the line of duty.

Biani Mora’s husband, U.S. Army Specialist Jose Mora, was 26 when he was killed in a mortar attack in Samarra, Iraq, in October 2003. His death left Biani, who works as an instructional aide at a private school in Victorville, California, to raise their three children as a single parent.

“Receiving this vehicle will greatly help me achieve my personal and professional goals because as a single mother, it has been a challenge to make it on my own,” she said. “I am still trying to obtain my degree while raising children and working full-time. … Being the recipient of a vehicle will provide me the opportunity to continue my endeavors, especially considering that my current vehicle that was being leased with the assistance of my mother is no longer operational.”

Raiya Kimble is one of five children of U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Dexter Kimble, who was killed in January 2005 when his helicopter crashed during a sandstorm near Ar-Rutbah, Iraq.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology from California State University, Monterey Bay, in 2021 and plans to pursue her graduate degree this fall.

“I live in a home with five people and there is currently only one vehicle for everyone to share,” she said. “Having my own vehicle will allow far more opportunities for my future and my field of study.”

Quote from UNLV student
The ceremony included a color guard presentation before the National Anthem was played.

Among the U.S. Bank leaders who participated in the ceremony were Manuel Rodriguez, commercial banking group manager, and Jeff Lewis, branch banking market leader, who highlighted the bank’s Proud to Serve business resource group that provides opportunities for employees to network with veterans and military supporters.

“At U.S. Bank, we employ over 2,000 veterans, and our teams are actively working to hire more,” Lewis said. “They provide such a unique perspective and discipline to our company.”

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