Realtors Make Memorial Day Donation To Soldiers' Families

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Longtime residents of Rim country are familiar with one of its first real estate companies, Bishop Realty in Pine, which has since become Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty.

Every Memorial Day weekend, the agency traditionally celebrates its anniversary by throwing a party for the residents of Pine.

This year, Broker Ray Pugel and his staff decided to spend the money a different way, by helping the stateside families of soldiers killed in Operation Liberty Shield.

"When we were in the planning stages of our anniversary party we thought that this would not be appropriate to do this year with people over in Iraq getting hurt or killed," Pugel said. "So, instead, what we decided to do is to find people whose families were impacted by the conflict."

Using the funds usually designated for the party, Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty instead donated them to the families of soldiers who lost their lives in the war.

"We picked two soldiers from Yuma who were killed in the conflict who had families, and donated the money to those families," Pugel said. "I believe both were educational funds for the children."

Major Jay Aubin died in March when his helicopter crashed in Kuwait. Aubin left behind two children, ages 7 and 10.

Sgt. Fernando Padilla was declared killed in action in April, a week after disappearing during convoy operations near Nasiriyah, Iraq. Padilla left behind two sons, a 5 year old and an infant born just days before his deployment.

Both men were stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma.

Upon hearing of the company's change of plans this year, residents of Pine fully supported their efforts and thought it was appropriate.

"We sent out postcards this year telling them what we were doing and it was met favorably," Pugel said "They thought it was a good idea. Who could argue with it since these children gave up their fathers for our country?"

How you can help

Those who would like to make a financial contribution to the Aubin and Padilla families can send their donations to:

Aubin Educational Fund, Patriot's Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 12367, Yuma, AZ 85365-0367

Padilla Children's Trust, San Luis Police Department, P.O. Box 3720, San Luis, AZ 85349

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