Every November 11th, we as a nation take time to recognize that without our heroic vets, none of the freedoms that we know today would be possible. In honor of Veterans Day, Toyota and Vantage Mobility International have partnered together to develop the Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest. This year was the second annual contest and the winner Susan Kirsch, a disabled US Air Force Vet, was awarded a new 2015 Toyota Sienna with the Northstar Access 360-in-floor side entry ramp conversion.
“We launched the VMI Star Spangled Salute to educate disabled veterans about their mobility options that can help them regain their independence,” said Doug Eaton, director of corporate communication at VMI. “Everyone at VMI and Toyota is pleased to announce that the Kirsch family has won the van on Veterans Day. This wheelchair accessible van will truly transform their lives.”
How does the contest work?
The Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest is a national program that was developed by Toyota and VMI to help give back the gift of independence to those brave veterans who gave up their independence so that we may continue to live free. The contest is open to all disabled vets living in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico, and this year, an astounding 1800 disabled vets from across the country entered for the chance to win the Toyota Sienna with a VMI Northstar Access360 conversion.
“For the second consecutive year, Toyota is honored to show its appreciation for those who’ve bravely served our country in the military by participating in this important program,” said Mark Oldenburg, Toyota’s National Fleet Marketing, Mobility and Strategic Planning Manager. “The buzz surrounding this year’s Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest has been exciting as veterans nationwide entered the online contest in record numbers. I truly look forward to delivering a new Toyota Sienna with a VMI Northstar conversion to the Kirsch family.”
Out of the 1800 disabled vets who entered the contest, Kirsch was the name selected on November 11th. Kirsch is not only a disabled vet, but she is also a mother of a 14-year-old disabled son. At 17, Kirsch entered the Air Force and during a war game training maneuver she suffered a spinal cord injury which resulted in her being 100 percent disabled.
“I have a powerchair, and my son has a tilt in place wheelchair,” said Kirsch in her Star Spangled Salute entry. “We haven’t any way to get our travel needs met at this point. We really need a wheelchair van….desperately!”
Well Kirsch, we hope you enjoy your new 2015 Toyota Sienna with the Northstar Access360 conversion.
We at Dick Poe Toyota would like to thank every veteran out there who served in our place to protect our freedoms. For all that you have done, we would like to show our appreciation with our Military Rebate offered to all current, inactive reserve, veteran or retiree, or household member of an eligible U.S. Military personnel. Make sure you do not miss any of the events or specials going on at Dick Poe Toyota, FOLLOW US on Twitter and LIKE US on Facebook!