2005-12-15 / Community

Philanthropist, car make difference in young mother’s life

By Sylvie Belmond belmond@theacorn.com

EARLY CHRISTMAS—Rosa Molina holds her daughter, Yessina, as she expresses gratitude for the generosity of Bruce Nation, owner of Westlake Independent Honda. He gave her a refurbished Acura Legend last week. Others pictured, from left to right are Molina’s mother, Ofelia, local philanthropist George Annino, and employees of Westlake Independent Honda. EARLY CHRISTMAS—Rosa Molina holds her daughter, Yessina, as she expresses gratitude for the generosity of Bruce Nation, owner of Westlake Independent Honda. He gave her a refurbished Acura Legend last week. Others pictured, from left to right are Molina’s mother, Ofelia, local philanthropist George Annino, and employees of Westlake Independent Honda. Rosa Molina was overjoyed by the unusual gift the strangers had just given her—her first car.

Molina, who, with her toddler daughter, Yessina, had recently escaped from an abusive relationship, had never owned an automobile. The young mother was pleased when she drove away in her own freshly polished Acura Legend.

“It should be a good car for a long time,” said Bruce Nation, owner of Westlake Independent Honda, as he showed the car’s interior to Molina.

Nation initially wanted to donate a car to a family displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Since he couldn’t find a family who met the qualifications, Nation turned to George Annino to find a local beneficiary.

Annino is well-known locally for his community service. He’s the founder of Santa Comes to Agoura and Beyond, an annual event during which food and donations for needy families are collected.

When Nation told him about his idea, Annino contacted his cousin, Marianne, who is involved with Interface Children Family Services and training to become a social worker. She referred Annino to Molina, a Camarillo resident.

Molina is currently going to school to learn medical administration and plans to work in a medical office. The car will help her to find work and take her daughter to daycare, she said.

Molina’s mother, Ofelia, was all smiles, touched by Nation’s generosity.

“He (Nation) made a change in somebody else’s life and gave them hope,” said Annino.

As he put the finishing touches on Molina’s new car, Nation said he hopes to make the car donation an annual tradition as long as business allows it.

The idea came during a regional business performance group meeting, he said.

Although the 1989 Acura Legend has many miles, it’s been well-maintained, said Nation, adding that preparing the car was a group effort involving other local businesses.

Thousand Oaks Detail cleaned and refurbished the car. Above All Glass donated a new windshield and a local tire supplier provided the wheels, said Nation, who purchased the car for about $1,000 and repaired it so it would run like new.

“If you donate to a charity, it goes to auction and the charity only gets a fraction of the money, but this way, we can give the car directly to the person that needs it. It’s the best value,” said Nation, who has been in business in Westlake Village for 18 years.

Nation is an honorable person, said Annino. “He built his business on trust and takes care of his customers.”

––George Annino ‘(Nation) made a change

in somebody’s life and

gave them hope.’

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