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For Immediate Release

Veronica Castro
(213) 236-7985

Nina Ronstadt
(619) 224-3186

SAN DIEGO (September 13, 2012) – As part of its ongoing commitment to cultural diversity and responsible banking, and in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Union Bank, N.A., has partnered with KPBS to recognize two members of the Latino community as local heroes.

The 2012 Local Heroes campaign is designed to celebrate and pay tribute to extraordinary members of the community who are making a difference by improving their workplaces, neighborhoods, region and the world. The 2012 Hispanic Heritage Month honorees are: Michael A.V. Cruz and Danny Gutierrez.

Earlier this year, honorees were identified during Black History Month (February); Women’s History Month (March); Jewish American Heritage Month (April/May); Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May); Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month (June); and will also be identified for Disability Awareness Month (October); and Native American Heritage Month (November). Honorees are formally recognized during celebration dinners, which Union Bank sponsors with KPBS.

“Union Bank is very honored to partner with KPBS to commemorate these leaders,” said Union Bank Senior Executive Vice President Pierre P. Habis, head of Community Banking. “The Local Heroes program is a representation of our dynamic diverse communities, and we are thrilled to recognize the contributions of these exceptional individuals who have significantly enriched our community through their efforts.”

“It is an honor to be able to collaborate with Union Bank in acknowledging the work of noteworthy individuals,” said Tom Karlo, KPBS general manager. “We recognize the importance of highlighting each honoree in our programming, as their stories are unique and revolutionize our communities.”

The 2012 honorees for Hispanic Heritage Month are:

Michael A.V. Cruz is the former director of the Navy Primary Standards Laboratory at North Island and the Naval Air System Command’s (NAVAIR) chief metrologist. He is also the first Hispanic at North Island to hold the highest engineering position at the Navy’s highest echelon. His passion for science and commitment to helping San Diego youth is what drives his service, which is particularly evident through his involvement with the NAVAIR Science Enrichment Program in San Diego. Mr. Cruz is also involved with San Diego’s Granger and National City Middle Schools, his alma mater. Active in the community, Mr. Cruz has served on the Navy’s Advisory Committee on Hispanic Employment and has been an officer, board and founding member of the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), served on the SHPE national board of directors, the Greater San Diego Industry/Education Council (SDGIEC), and the YMCA-Family Services. Mr. Cruz has received numerous awards for his work with the Navy.

Danny Gutierrez is an area coordinator for Project Safe Way, a community and volunteer-driven initiative that focuses on improving the safety and well-being of children living in Southeastern San Diego’s Diamond District. He works alongside law enforcement officials, community partners, and local school officials to implement safe passage to schools and to enhance dialogue between residents and police officers. Mr. Gutierrez’s lifelong commitment is to improving the public safety of his community. Additionally, Mr. Gutierrez is actively involved in the San Diego Compassion Project and also works with local teens referred by police officers, parents, or community members, teaching positive ways to channel their frustrations, and offering them a safe, productive environment.

Throughout the respective commemorative heritage months, KPBS will air video profiles of the winners, highlighting how they made a difference in their community. To view the videos and to nominate future heroes, click here. For more information about the Local Heroes program, please also visit Union Bank Local Heroes

About UnionBanCal Corporation & Union Bank, N.A.
Headquartered in San Francisco, UnionBanCal Corporation is a financial holding company with assets of $87.9 billion at June 30, 2012. Its primary subsidiary, Union Bank, N.A., is a full-service commercial bank providing an array of financial services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, and major corporations. The bank operated 402 branches in California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Illinois, and New York as well as two international offices, on June 30, 2012. UnionBanCal Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. Union Bank is a proud member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG, NYSE:MTU),one of the world’s largest financial organizations. Visit for more information.

About KPBS
KPBS is a public service of San Diego State University, serving the region with TV, Radio and Internet content that is educational as well as entertaining-and free of commercial interruption.