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October 22, 2013 (San Diego) – In celebration of Disability Awareness Month and as part of its ongoing commitment to cultural diversity and responsible banking, Union Bank, N.A., has joined with KPBS to honor two inspirational individuals as local heroes.  The 2013 Disability Awareness Month honorees are: Linda Bounds, founder of L.E.A.P.S. (Lovingly Energetic Artistic Programs for Seniors) and BOUNDS; and Al Kovach, Jr., national senior vice president of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA).  Both will be recognized with other heritage month honorees during a November celebration in San Diego.

The Local Heroes program recognizes and pays tribute to exemplary leaders who are making a difference and enriching the lives of others by improving their workplace, community, region and the world. The 2013 Disability Awareness Month honorees share a passion and a commitment to their communities to provide them with resources to succeed in today’s world.

Linda Bounds is an artist, educator, and the founder of L.E.A.P.S. and BOUNDS, a non-profit that uses art as an engaging teaching style to assist individuals, regardless of age and/or illness, to experience the excitement of creativity.  In 2008, she developed Healing Hearts, a therapeutic fine arts program at Edgemoor Hospital available to all patients to help promote their well being.  She also created the intergenerational program “M.A.G.I.C.” (Making Art Grow in Communities), which brings together sixth grade students and seniors grappling with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Al Kovach, Jr., a resident of Coronado, is the national senior vice president of Paralyzed Veterans of America and serves as the Cal-Diego Chapter’s immediate past president. He joined the chapter as the government relations director and has served on its board of directors since 1991.  Mr. Kovach was a member of the elite U.S. Navy SEALs when he broke his neck in a parachuting accident in 1991.  Since then he has been a two-time winner of the L.A. Marathon, a participant of the 1996 Paralympic Games, and has completed a 3,700-mile transcontinental triathlon. Mr. Kovach was selected as San Diego Hall of Champions’ Disabled Athlete of the Year in 1999.  Originally from Philadelphia, he attended Indiana University.

“The contribution of these two amazing local heroes is truly inspiring, and Union Bank is honored to recognize their work and their commitment to the San Diego community and beyond,” said Union Bank Senior Executive Vice President Pierre P. Habis, head of Community Banking.  “We are pleased to join KPBS as we celebrate the honorees and their tireless dedication.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Union Bank as we honor these incredible individuals,” said Tom Karlo, KPBS general manager.  “Being able to introduce these local heroes and their contributions within our programming is an honor. Their stories are inspiring and their influence on our San Diego community is remarkable.”

Throughout the respective commemorative heritage months, KPBS will air video profiles of each honoree, highlighting how they make a difference in their community. The 2013 profiles can be viewed on the web at www.kpbs.org/heroes.  For more information about the Local Heroes program, or to nominate a 2014 local hero, please also visit unionbank.com/heroes.