Bud’s Tire Pros, a 2016 Top Shop Finalist, has teamed up with California Baptist University’s men’s basketball program to recognize a military veteran at each home game.
The “Heroes of the Game” segment, presented by Bud’s Tire Pros, recognizes local veterans that have had a life of outstanding service and dedication, protecting and serving the United States. So far, Bud’s and Cal Baptist have honored 26 veterans in the last 14 months, according to Bud Luppino, owner of Bud’s Tire Pros and former military veteran.
“It is a real honor to recognize these special people even if it is only for one night,” Luppino said.
A few of the veterans recognized include:
- U.S. Army Master Sergeant and Retired Riverside County Sheriff Deputy, Eugene Frazier Jr. Frazier was born in Thomasville, Georgia in 1939 and joined the army in 1958. He served his country in Germany, Turkey, Korea and did two tours of duty in Vietnam. During this time, Eugene was awarded multiple medals and recognitions, including The Silver Star for gallantry in action, three bronze stars, the air medal and the joint service commendation medal. In 1989, Frazier joined the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and retired in 2002.
- Jon Hemp served in the U.S. Air Force as a security forces K-9 handler, with foreign tours of duty in Libya and Vietnam. He was a draft notice recipient in late 1965. He elected separation from active duty in August 1969. In 2008, Hemp became a co-founder and director of a veteran organization that supports active duty military K9 handlers (and their families), both at home abroad, and when deployed to active areas of operation, it is called, “The Dawgs Project.” This group has provided nearly 10,000 military personnel of the military working dog communities with appreciations such as steak barbeques across the country.
- U.S. Marine Corporal Ashley Barton enlisted in the Marines in 2012 as a heavy equipment operator and mechanic enlisting from California.
Barton was inspired to join the military by her 5th-grade teacher after the tragic events of 9/11. She has served and represented her country in Japan, The Philippines, Thailand, South Korea, Guam, Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan and Iraq as an engineer and security forces specialist.
She finished her service in 2016 and is currently a student at Cal Baptist University studying psychology and working in the Veterans office.