NASCAR on FOX announcer, three-time Sprint Cup Series champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip will join Vantage Mobility International on Wednesday 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 be held 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," Waltrip said. "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."