News & Events

August 13, 2014

Let the Games Begin! Toyota Again Named Sustaining Host Sponsor of 2014 National Veterans Wheelchair Games


Washington, DC – August 13, 2014 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Paralyzed Veterans of America are proud to announce that Toyota will again serve as a Sustaining Host Sponsor for the 34 th National Veterans Wheelchair Games, which begin today in Philadelphia, and run through Sunday, August 17. Toyota will also be providing vehicles for National Veterans Wheelchair Games officials to drive throughout the week.

"The support of our sponsors is vital to putting on an event as large as the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. We thank Toyota for their continued support of this important rehabilitative event for our disabled veterans and for their commitment to our veteran wheelchair athletes," said Al Kovach, national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America.

This year marks the 15th year that Toyota will sponsor the National Veterans Wheelchair Games — the largest annual wheelchair multi-sports event in the world. Toyota will also serve as one of the event host sponsors for table tennis and weightlifting.

"Toyota is very proud of our 15-year relationship with the Paralyzed Veterans of America," said Mark Oldenburg, Toyota National Fleet Marketing, Mobility and Strategic Planning Manager. "Toyota is honored to once again be the sustaining sponsor of the 34th annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games and support the brave men and women who serve our country and defend our freedom."

The National Veterans Wheelchair Games, presented annually by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Paralyzed Veterans of America, are open to all U.S. military veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition as a result of spinal cord injury, certain neurological conditions, amputations or other mobility impairments, and are focused on providing therapeutic, holistic treatments through adaptive sports. "These Games are empowering veterans with disabilities to improve their lives through sports and recreation," said Dave Tostenrude, Director of the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. "The athletes return home with the attitude and information of what they can do, versus, what they cannot."

Veterans at the Wheelchair Games will compete in 18 events: air guns, archery, basketball, boccia, bowling, field, handcycling, a motorized wheelchair rally, nine ball, power soccer, quad rugby, slalom, softball, swimming, table tennis, track, trapshooting and weightlifting. This year’s Wheelchair Games will also feature an exhibition of wheelchair lacrosse. Athletes compete in all events against others with similar athletic ability, competitive experience or age. For more information about the 34th National Veterans Wheelchair Games, please visit www.wheelchairgames.org .

January 7, 2014

TOYOTA AND DARRELL WALTRIP JOIN VMI TO PRESENT WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE SIENNA TO DISABLED VETERAN


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Jan. 7, 2014 – Toyota and NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip will join Vantage Mobility International (VMI), on Jan. 8, 2014, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., to present Charlie Harvey, the disabled veteran and winner of the Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute national contest, with a 2013 Toyota Sienna SE with VMI Access360 Northstar In-floor Conversion. The presentation will take place at Waltrip's race shop in Harrisburg, N.C.

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 Northstar. The online contest was announced in March, and Harvey's name was drawn on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2013. The contest was open to all disabled U.S. veterans.

"Toyota is proud to be a part of programs like VMI's Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest, which support our nation's disabled military veterans," said Mark Oldenburg, Toyota's national fleet marketing, mobility and strategic planning manager. "We're indebted to the service of these courageous men and women, many of whom now battle for their own mobility. Donating a Sienna for the contest is a small token of our gratitude for their sacrifices. We congratulate Mr. Harvey on winning the contest and look forward to presenting him with his Sienna."

Cpl. Harvey is a retired U.S. Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War in 1969. He has suffered three strokes in the last 16 years and is now dependent on a wheelchair and scooter for his mobility. The new Sienna SE was donated by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., and features the Access360 Northstar donated by VMI.

"I'm so honored to be a part of the Star Spangled Salute," said Darrell Waltrip. "This is such a great program helping someone who has sacrificed so much. The disabled veterans need our support and gratitude and this specially equipped Toyota will let Charlie be able to do the things he loves to do. I'm proud that Toyota and VMI developed this program. You can go in style Charlie, congratulations!"

Operation Independence is a national program developed by VMI and the VMI Select Dealer Network. A portion of the Operation Independence program is to educate veterans about Federal Vehicle Grants, which are available to disabled U.S. veterans.

"We launched the VMI Operation Independence initiative to better support our disabled veterans in obtaining their mobility vehicle benefits," said Monique McGivney, director of corporate communication at VMI. "The program has since grown to include a dedicated Veteran Advocate Center and other veteran-centric programs, like the Star Spangled Salute contest. We're grateful for Toyota's donation and Darrell Waltrip's participation to present Charlie and his family with a key to their new wheelchair accessible Sienna."

Army veteran Charlie Harvey and family receive a 2013 VMI-converted Toyota Sienna SE van from NASCAR
Hall of Fame inductee Darryl Waltrip.

Participating in the "Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute" Sienna donation are (Left to Right) Monique McGivney (VMI), Darryl Waltrip (NASCAR Hall of Fame), winner Charlie Harvey and Linda Harvey (in vehicle), Dave Depew (Toyota) and Mark Oldenburg (Toyota).

VMI's Access360 Northstar for the Toyota Sienna features more space to enter the vehicle and maneuver inside it, more flexibility and ease of use, more pleasing aesthetics and more confidence that it will deliver a safe and high quality owner experience. For a full list of features on the Toyota Sienna with VMI's Access360 Northstar, click here.

ABOUT VANTAGE MOBILITY INTERNATIONAL
Vantage 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 TOYOTA
Toyota (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.

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 INTERNATIONAL
Vantage 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 TOYOTA
Toyota (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 Life
BraunAbility, 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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