A year after the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Wells Fargo continues to remember the victims and join the city to rally around the Hispanic, LGBT, and other communities affected.
Wells Fargo recently dedicated a new mural at its Downtown Orlando branch at 131 North Orange Avenue, ahead of the first anniversary of the June 12, 2016, attack that killed 49 people and wounded dozens of others during the gay nightclub’s “Latin Night.”
The mural features historical and current views of downtown Orlando, including street scenes, local residents, and panoramas. The civic artwork also includes a defining moment of the city’s response to the Pulse shooting: when key Orlando landmarks — including the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, City Hall, and the fountain at Lake Eola Park — were lit in rainbow colors.
“The Pulse-related image featured in the mural in downtown Orlando is a wonderful reflection of the heart and soul of the employees of Wells Fargo in Central Florida,” said Mark Brewer, president and CEO of the Central Florida Foundation, which guides funds to assist victims and address gaps in health care and other needs for survivors and their families.
The mural is Wells Fargo’s 222nd in Florida and among more than 2,400 installed nationwide through the bank’s Community Mural Program. Its installation follows Wells Fargo’s contribution of $320,000 — $300,000 to the City of Orlando’s OneOrlando Fund and $20,000 to the Central Florida Foundation’s Better Together Fund. To date, the Foundation has awarded $545,354 to community groups and agencies supporting the victims and their families, Brewer said.
The money has helped cover gaps in health care — including mental health — provided housing and other basic needs, and supported anti-bullying programs in the schools and other efforts.
“Wells Fargo was an early investor in the work of the community after the Pulse tragedy,” Brewer said. “Through this support, and actively working with other funders and foundations in the region, Wells Fargo has actively helped identify needs and direct funding toward them. We appreciate their efforts.”
So does Ben Arroyo, Wells Fargo’s East Central Florida area president. One of his friends was killed in the shooting; another was seriously wounded.
“It is a night I’ll never forget,” said Arroyo, whose wounded friend was “put in a body bag and thought to be the 50th victim — until a technician noted the bag was moving and they realized he was still alive.”
Arroyo was so moved by the tragedy that he helped create a scholarship fund to help children of shooting victims go to college.
“Orlando is a very diverse community, and I think the mural, and all the other ways the company has shown up for the community and all of us as team members, has been awesome,” he said.
Other team members have continued to show support in individual and collective ways. In the days after the tragedy, Wells Fargo team members across Florida wore white ribbons in support of Orlando and their teammates in the city. In Orlando, team members took lunches to first responders and pitched in to help. Wells Fargo sent counselors from its Employee Assistance Consulting group to go branch to branch in Orlando to provide education and support.
This year, hundreds of Wells Fargo team members participated in the company’s “Acts of Love & Kindness Ribbon Campaign” — coloring white ribbon posters and penning special messages displayed in Wells Fargo’s Orlando headquarters.
“It’s been a great way for our team members to express their thoughts and feelings and show OneOrlando love,” said Peter Ramos-Johnson, a branch communications consultant and chair of the Wells Fargo PRIDE Team Member Network chapter in Central Florida.
Several team members also participated June 12 in a citywide vigil and donned angel costumes in the “Orlando Love: Remembering Our Angels” tribute to the 49 victims killed. Wells Fargo also covered its ATMs at the Downtown Orlando and Orange Avenue branches with pride graphics.
“You never expect something like this to happen in any community, and especially here in the home of Disney,” said Derek Jones, Wells Fargo’s Central Florida region president. “Because of the efforts of so many, something that was truly tragic has revealed the best of this city and its people and brought us together even more.”