“This is a huge loss to the veteran community.”
That’s how Josue Guerrero referred to the death of fellow veteran and friend Sergio Espana Pizano, who died over the weekend in a motorcycle accident in the Antelope Valley area.
“He loved camping and was a great family man,” said Guerrero of Espana Pizano, who grew up in the Pacoima area.
A Marine who served in Iraq, Espana Pizano died in the early hours of Sunday, October 19, when he crashed along Barrel Springs Road and Pearblossom Highway, according to a report on AV Scanner News.
Guerrero first met Espana Pizano when they both served in the same battalion. A decade later he would meet him at the Volunteers of America in Hollywood where the deceased worked lending a hand to veterans coping with homelessness and other problems.
Espana Pizano was part of the Battle Buddy Bridge, a peer-to-peer support group that facilitates access to resources for veterans, including transportation, food, benefits and legal assistance, mental health care and housing.
“He was really focused on helping those with PTSD. You could call him at 3 a.m. and he would show up. He was always there for whoever needed him,” Guerrero said.
Raised in Pacoima, Guerrero added the Marine Corps made Espana Pizano a better man.
“He was very responsible and a community oriented man,” he noted.
Those qualities led him to become Commander at VFW Post 3834 in San Fernando for a time, said Raul Barragan, current Commander at the unit.
“He held several leadership positions and was Commander for a brief period of time,” said Barragan, at moments overwhelmed with the loss while talking on the phone.
He said Espana Pizano was an experienced motorcycle rider and a father of three, his latest child born in February, and also highlighted his assistance to fellow military colleagues.
“He went out of his way to help veterans,” Barragan said. “He made an impact.”
Barragan helped set up at GoFundMe (https://bit.ly/2FONLp6) account to help Pizano’s family. Initially, the goal was to raise $15,000 but that was quickly reached within a day and now the goal is $50,000.
The GoFundMe Account notes that “for those who knew Sergio, he was a charismatic, thoughtful and devoted family man. He was also passionate in helping those in the veteran community that needed a helping hand.
“We at VFW Post 3834 would like to assist the family during this difficult time by collecting donations in his name. All funds collected on this website will be withdrawn and given to his family (Wife and Kids).
“Our hearts, wishes, prayers, thoughts, and tears go out to his family, friends, and everyone that knew and loved him.”