News & Events
November 12, 2013
TOYOTA AND VMI ANNOUNCE WINNER OF OPERATION INDEPENDENCE STAR SPANGLED SALUTE CONTEST
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Nov. 12, 2013 – Vantage Mobility International (VMI), a leader in the manufacture and distribution of wheelchair accessible vehicles and Toyota, have announced Charlie Harvey, from North Carolina, as the winner of the Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute national contest.
More than 850 U.S. military veterans from across the country, including every state in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico, entered the contest for the chance to win a 2013 Toyota Sienna SE with VMI's Access360 In-floor Ramp Conversion. The online contest was announced in March, and the winner's name was drawn on Veteran's Day 2013. The contest was open to all disabled U.S. Veterans.
"Together with Toyota, we've been looking forward to announcing the winner of the Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest since the contest began," said Jeff Weston, vice president of business development at Vantage Mobility International. "We stand behind our veterans and appreciate every opportunity we have to support the courageous men and women of our military. We're also grateful to our partners, like Toyota, who have been a big part of the success of the Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest."
Mr. Harvey is a retired U.S. Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War. "We were just shocked that we won the Star Spangled Salute contest," said Mr. Harvey. "We currently use my wife's sedan as our primary transportation. The Toyota Sienna with VMI's ramp is going to give me a lot more freedom to get around using my wheelchair." Details of the Sienna's delivery to the Harvey family will be announced soon.
"When our team learned of VMI's Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest, we knew we had to get involved," said Mark Oldenburg, Toyota's national fleet marketing, mobility and strategic planning manager. "Toyota is honored to support the Paralyzed Veterans of America, VMI and all the men and women who gave so much to serve our country. We want to congratulate Mr. Harvey and look forward to presenting him with his 2013 Sienna with VMI In-floor ramp conversion in the near future."
Operation Independence is a national program developed by VMI and the VMI Select Dealer Network and is supported by Paralyzed Veterans of America. A portion of the Operation Independence program is to educate veterans about Federal Grant 21-4502, which is available to disabled U.S. veterans. To learn more about the program and grant, veterans can visit www.pva.org/vmi
ABOUT VANTAGE MOBILITY INTERNATIONALVantage Mobility International is a manufacturer and distributor of the most innovative, reliable, highest quality and easily accessible transportation in the world. Their full line of products include domestic and import minivan conversions, full-size van conversions, platform lifts, scooter and wheelchair lifts and transfer seats. For more information, call Aaron Cook at (214) 520-3430 Ext. 306 or visit www.vantagemobility.com.
ABOUT TOYOTAToyota (NYSE:TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. There are nearly 1,500 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in the U.S. which sold more than 2 million vehicles in 2012. Toyota directly employs over 31,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $23 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota's annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from U.S. suppliers totals over $26 billion.
For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyota.com, www.toyotanewsroom.com or www.toyotainaction.com.
July 22, 2011
Newlywed Paralyzed in Tragic Accident Gains New Lease on LifeBraunAbility, Toyota Surprise Rachelle Friedman with Mobility Vehicle Donation
Click here to watch video reveal
RALEIGH, NC – July 22, 2011 – Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. and The Braun Corporation, the world's largest manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vans and wheelchair lifts, today announced the surprise wedding day donation of a brand new 2011 Toyota Sienna with a BraunAbility Rampvan® XT conversion to Rachelle Friedman, who was paralyzed as a result of a tragic accident during her bachelorette party in May 2010.
BraunAbility and local mobility dealer Van Products Inc. had loaned 23-year-old Rachelle and her fiancé Chris Chapman a BraunAbility Sienna Rampvan® while they planned their wedding. Unbeknownst to them, plans were in the works for the ultimate surprise: the donation of a mobility vehicle to the couple as a wedding gift they could use for years to come.
"Rachelle's resolve and strength are truly inspirational," said Nick Gutwein, President of Braun. "We were so moved by her story that we wanted to help her not only while she planned for her wedding, but also as she moves forward in her married life."
"On behalf of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and Toyota Mobility, we are honored to share in this joyous occasion," Scott Heyer, Corporate Fleet/TRAC/TCUV Manager, told Rachelle and Chris. "We hope this special gift will enrich your new life together and enhance your health and happiness today and in the future. Congratulations!"
Rachelle had been using the loaned vehicle for wedding appointments and for travel between quad-rugby practices and tournaments, as well as therapy appointments. Until Van Products loaned her the vehicle, her mother had been carrying her in and out of her SUV.
"The van's made all the difference in the world," said Rachelle. "Not only has it saved my mom's back, it's just made it so much easier to get out and do things. I've missed this level of comfort, convenience and independence. Next up…learning to drive on my own!"
Joe Garnett, Braun Director of Marketing and Dealer Programs, and Scott Heyer, Toyota Motor Sales Corporate Fleet/TRAC/TCUV Manager, presented the 2011 Braun Toyota Sienna to Rachelle and Chris following the couple's wedding reception in Raleigh, NC.
Rachelle will keep the mobility community updated on her driving lessons via BraunAbility's online blog, AbilityVoice, at www.braunability.com/abilityvoice.
For more information on Rachelle, visit http://www.rachellefriedman.com/.
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