Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pen Air FCU goes 'Extreme" for the Gaston Family

Pen Air Federal Credit Union has teamed up with other local companies and organizations to assist one fortunate Gulf Coast family.

The Extreme Makeover: Home Edition television show selected Finis Gaston and his family to be the recipient of a new Escambia County home donated by the local community and built by local volunteers. The home was revealed to the family with much fanfare Oct. 24. At that event, Pen Air FCU announced that it will be investing up to $50,000 over the next few years to the Gaston Family Housing Trust to help them with house maintenance costs such as taxes and insurance, while Gaston completes his degree in social work at the University of West Florida, which donated scholarships to the entire family.

“Pen Air has always invested in the community by providing affordable loans and services to the community,” said Ron Fields, CEO of Pen Air FCU. “The community is looking for the direction of strength and Pen Air is proud to be the beacon of light for the Gaston Family.”

Education is a priority for Pen Air FCU, and the credit union continuously supports local school sports programs, has opened three student-run credit unions in area high schools and recently launched the Share It debit card program, where $.01 of each signature transaction is donated to local schools.

Gaston said he felt overwhelmed with gratitude.

“Thank you very much,” Gaston said. “We are so blessed. All these people don’t even know us. I feel the love from the community.”

Show producers said Pen Air’s assistance was crucial to the family’s success, long after the filming ends.

“Pen Air Federal Credit Union really came through when we needed them to,” said EM:HE Senior Producer Diane Korman. “Their amazing generosity is so important to the Gaston Family’s success as they begin the next chapter in their lives. ”

Pen Air was just one of many local companies to get involved to assist the Gastons. Heritage Homes, University of West Florida, Community Enterprise Investments, Inc., Cox Cable, Gulf Power and 1-800 Charity Cars were just a few of the helping hands in this project.

 “Pen Air really stepped up to the plate to help this family. We are so grateful for their generosity not only to the family but also to the community,” said Sharon Saltee, Locations Coordinator for Heritage Homes. “Ron Fields did an amazing job getting past the red tape and invested with his heart. Pen Air helped get it done quickly to ensure that this family was taken care of.”

CEII Chairman Sam Horton has been a Pen Air member since 1969 and he said he was surprised and pleased that Pen Air offered to help the Gaston family.

“This is a very worth-while cause and I am glad that Pen Air and all the other facets of our community stepped forward to help this needy family,” Horton said. “I was really happy that these organizations within the community are helping people when they need help.”

The Emmy award winning reality program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” now entering its 8th season, is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding. It’s executive-produced by Brady Connell and George Verschoor. David Goldberg is Chairman, Endemol North America. The show airs Sundays from 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET on ABC.

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