Wilmington resident Salvador Lara sat stunned on August 25 as he was surprised with the announcement that he and his wife would receive a complete home makeover, at no cost to them. He arrived earlier that morning to Sharefest’s office excited to hear a presentation about an upcoming community project led by Sharefest and Wedgewood, and had no idea the project was meant for him.

In April, Wedgewood joined in Sharefest’s annual Workday, and the success of that project led them to partner with Sharefest once again to give back by recognizing a community member in need of a home renovation. Salvador Lara quickly came to mind, a man known for his longtime involvement in the community, and for going above and beyond in service to the city of Wilmington.

“Everyone who knows Salvador knows what a gift he and his wife, Maria, have been to his community,” said Chad Mayer, Sharefest Executive Director. “His passion for his city is evident in all that he does, and in particular through the Clean Wilmington program he launched. Thanks to Wedgewood, we can now give back to this family that has given so much of their time and energy to making Wilmington a great place to live.”

Lara is a longtime Wilmington resident and spent 24 years as full-time employee of Brinderson, before recently losing his job, where he worked in gardening, landscaping, and maintaining yard and refinery equipment. In 2007, concerned about his community’s degraded condition, Lara initiated the Clean Wilmington program, which brought together hundreds of community volunteers to remove more than 100 tons of weeds and illegally-dumped items annually in the city. As project manager, Lara trains interns, and recruits, organizes, and supervises volunteers and activities, all on his own time.

“This project is near and dear to our hearts because it combines what we do best, rehabbing homes in need of repair, with lending a helping hand to our community,” said Greg Geiser, CEO and President of Wedgewood. “Salvador Lara is someone who has proven through his volunteer activities and community mobilization to have a bottomless service heart, giving so much of his time, talent, and organization to the city of Wilmington. There is not a more deserving person for this philanthropic effort.”

The renovation kicked off right away, and over the course of 12 days the Lara home received a complete makeover including new roof, flooring, wood framing, electrical wiring, air conditioning, a new kitchen and bathrooms, fresh paint, and landscaping. The team from Wedgewood did an incredible job keeping the project on track and providing the Lara’s with a beautiful new home. On the final day, before the reveal, 90 Wedgewood employees turned out to finalize landscaping and do clean up around the local neighborhood. California State Senator Isadore Hall and Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino joined in the reveal and ribbon cutting to recognize Salvador for his service. It was a community effort, with everyone uniting to honor a man who has given so much to his city. (See Joe Buscaino’s Facebook live video of the reveal.)

“I have known of Salvador and his incredible love and passion for Wilmington, his beloved community, since before my election to the City Council in 2012,” said Buscaino. “Throughout the years I have had the honor of knowing Salvador on a more personal level, allowing me to understand the drive behind the man. Salvador represents more than his family, more than his community—he represents the American dream we all strive to achieve. A native of Mexico, Salvador made this country his home, and pushes to make it a better place for all of us. From sending his two children to elite universities, to establishing and encouraging civic engagement in the City of L.A., Salvador is a hero in the hearts of many. I join thousands in celebrating this incredible gift and hope that we each walk away a better person after having crossed his path.”

View photos and watch a video of the project.

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