Wounded Marine gets New Camaro from Wyotech

WyoTech-Long Beach Helps Turn a Dream into a Reality
for a Wounded Warrior

Long Beach, Calif. (August 24, 2011) – On Sunday, August 14, WyoTech and the Semper Fi Fund unveiled a brand new Chevrolet Camaro for Marine Staff Sergeant (SSgt) Guillermo “TJ” Tejada during the 4th Annual Wounded Warrior car show at WyoTech in Long Beach, Calif.  It was a fitting tribute for SSgt Tejada who had lost both legs above the knee when his patrol encountered an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan in November of 2010. The Semper Fi Fund and the Nice Guys Victory Fund provided the funds to purchase the car, which was then customized by WyoTech students to make SSgt Tejada’s dream of driving a Camaro come true.

SSgt Tejada has been serving his country for 12 years. Since joining the Marines right out of high school, he’s been deployed twice to Okinawa, Japan, once to Iraq during the invasion and once to Afghanistan. On November 11, while conducting foot patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan, he was struck with the IED that immediately took off both of his legs. Due to heavy enemy fire, they were not able to land a helicopter nearby. Once reinforcements came, his fellow Marines transported him by foot back to the forward operating base, which was about one kilometer away. From there, he was flown to the nearest hospital where he was stabilized. SSgt Tejada was released to outpatient status in January 2011 and has been going through rehabilitation therapy ever since. After his 1-1/2 to 2 year recovery, he plans on training for a different job in the Marines so he can continue to support the Marines that are forward deployed. SSgt Tejada’s biggest regret is that he “could not return to Afghanistan to finish out the deployment with his Marine brothers.”

After the presentation, SSgt Tejada’s wife, mother and three children surrounded SSgt Tejada. He said, “I’m happy to be alive, so having the Semper Fi Fund and WyoTech presenting me a gift like this is beyond my wildest dreams.”

Four WyoTech students, all veteran service members, customized the 2011 Camaro SS with an Eibach Springs Pro-Plus Kit, a Cherry Bomb exhaust system, MGP brake caliper covers and hand controls from the Ability Center. The respective companies donated all parts for the modifications. Butch Lynch from the Imagineering Shop applied the custom paint job and Covercraft supplied the custom car cover screened with a special commemoration to Semper Fi.

“It was a great honor to assist the Semper Fi Fund in supporting SSgt Tejada and his family,” said Tom Stein, vice president of WyoTech Long Beach.  “It was an emotional day for all, but especially for the veterans who were present.  We look forward to helping out the Semper Fi Fund in the future.”

As SSgt Tejada started the engine and drove away in his new Camaro, there was applause and tears of joy from the hundreds of Semper Fi supporters, fellow Marines, car enthusiasts and families in attendance. It was a moment that many will never forget.

WyoTech – Long Beach is located at 2161 Technology Place, Long Beach, Calif., 90810. WyoTech is a division of Corinthian Colleges, Inc., one of the largest post-secondary education companies in North America. WyoTech offers degree and diploma programs in the fields of automotive, diesel, collision/refinishing, motorcycle, marine technology, as well as construction trades. In addition, WyoTech offers advanced training programs in applied service management; advanced diesel; light duty diesel; advanced automotive diagnostics; street rod and custom fabrication; motorsports chassis fabrication; high performance power trains; and trim and upholstery technology. There are currently six WyoTech campuses located across the United States. For more information, go to www.wyotech.edu. For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.wyotech.edu/disclosures.