A soldier. A humanitarian. A hero. These are the words that describe Michael Montanez. At the age of 18, right out of high school, Michael joined the military with a goal to protect and help people. While serving in the U.S. Army and Air Force National Guard for over 12 years, Michael did just that. During his two deployments to Iraq, he helped open schools, conducted humanitarian missions and safe guarded villages in addition to his combat duties. He was also sent to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to help U.S. citizens during their time of need. Today, Michael is a proud father of 2 boys. He also suffers from multiple service connected injuries (visible and not) and needed our help. HomeStrong USA and Wells Fargo were there to assist him.

Part of Michael’s struggles ended when volunteers finished up critical home repairs including: a new handicap accessible shower; grab bars; new steps and a new fence around the perimeter of Michael’s home. In addition, volunteers installed drought tolerant landscaping in the front yard to lower Michael’s monthly water bill and help address the California drought. This action is part of HomeStrong’s Heroes Home Repair Program, funded by the Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program, which supports projects focused on land and water conservation, energy efficiency, infrastructure, and educational outreach in communities across America.

“I feel very fortunate that I have received these repairs and the water saving landscaping,” said Michael Montanez. The repairs are going to significantly improve my living conditions at home and the new drought tolerant landscaping will help me save money on my electric bill while also saving me time in upkeep.”

“The Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program represents a five-year commitment to provide $100 million in grant funding to nonprofits and university programs focused on environmental sustainability across the country.” said Jack Olree, Wells Fargo Community Development for the Inland Empire. “Wells Fargo is so pleased to be able to support Homestrong USA this year with a $100,000 grant, because we know this nonprofit works tirelessly to help invigorate local neighborhoods and further their long-term financial success.”

With the help of 25 volunteers from Wells Fargo and HomStrong USA, Michael Montanez now has a safe and healthy home.

“We can’t do enough for our veterans,” said Jed Davis, CEO of HomeStrong USA. “This is our small way of giving back to our veterans and we couldn’t do it without the support of Wells Fargo and The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.”

About HomeStrongUSA
HomeStrong USA is a nonprofit community development organization with a mission to increase the vitality and stability of communities across the nation by promoting successful homeownership through education and counseling, the creation of innovative affordable housing opportunities, and providing resources to local nonprofit counseling agencies. For more information visit www.homestrongusa.org.

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities is in its fifth year. To date, the program has made grants to 267 nonprofit organizations for 312 projects, from Alaska to Florida, and California to Maine. Over the life of the five-year program, grantees will have restored more than 83,000 acres of habitat, planted almost a million trees and engaged hundreds of thousands of community members in environmental protection activities nationwide. In addition to the Wells Fargo Foundation’s $15 million investment, NFWF leveraged an additional $9.7 million in matching dollars during its five-year program administration.