RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Nov. 10, 2014) — Bud Luppino doesn't seem to know the word “no.”
Ask those who know him best and all will tell you a similar story: Mr. Luppino, perhaps to a fault, is not one to turn down someone in need of help.
“I have no idea what Bud gets hit up for because I think the word is out: ‘He's a soft touch,'” said Sergio Diaz, chief of police for the Riverside Police Department (RPD). “What do you need, a couple hundred bucks? A set of tires? A kidney?”
The owner of Bud's Tire & Wheel Inc., which does business as Bud's Tire Pros, in Riverside, has been an active contributor to charitable causes in nearly two decades in business. He has donated time, energy, money — and yes, even one of his own organs — in the name of helping his fellow man. His involvement in organizations such as Kiwanis Club, The Arc of Riverside County, The Unforgettables Foundation and the Janet Goeske Foundation & Senior Center, among others, has generated upwards of $1 million in charitable donations over the last 19 years.
For his dedication to supporting various charitable causes, Mr. Luppino has accumulated numerous accolades and honors, the most recent of which is the 2014 Tire Business Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award.
Mr. Luppino was presented with the award Nov. 3 at the Tire Industry Association's annual Tire Industry Honors event during the 2014 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas. He is the 21st recipient of the Humanitarian Award, the winner of which is judged and selected each year by the United Way of Summit County, Ohio, volunteer services committee.
Mr. Luppino was presented a special medal symbolizing the spirit of giving and Tire Business donated $1,250 each to two charities he selected — The Unforgettables Foundation and The Arc of Riverside County.
Mike Stong, a close friend of Mr. Luppino and long-time member of the same Kiwanis International chapter, said his “biggest generosity” over the years has come in the form of his time.
“I don't know everything he does specifically with other organizations, but I do know how involved he is with other organizations, and I know how often he gets recognition for all his efforts and sacrifices,” Mr. Stong said. “He's got businesses to run and he's a grandfather and all that implies. He's involved in these organizations and his business — it's a lot of time.
“He's probably got some long days, but I don't know that he could not have something going on like that,” he added. “I think he has a problem saying no, but it's coming from a good heart and a desire to help. And that's the beginning of anything good.”
For Mr. Luppino, his reasons for focusing so much on giving back come down to two things.
“One, because there's a need, and the second is because we all have to do something,” he told Tire Business. “All you can do is all you can do, but all you can do is enough. If there's a need and we have the resources to be able to do something, then we're going to do everything we can.”
Mr. Luppino said his giving nature is a “natural inborn thing” and he credits his mother Laura Luppino for fostering that in him. He added that he believes God put people on Earth to help each other.
“It's like I live in a bubble compared to what's happening in the world, and then when I see what other people are going through, I say, ‘Wow, how can I not do it?'
“I feel like my purpose is to help everybody I can with what I can,” he said, adding that although one must be discriminating in evaluating needs, “when you see people who've sacrificed so much to do so much for their family with so little, you have to say, ‘Yes.' I don't give it a thought.”