Scion for Soldiers
But thanks to a collaboration between Toyota Financial Services, the Valley Toyota Dealers Association and Toyota Motor Sales, the veterans now own the vehicles — free and clear.
Two years ago, TMS teamed up with Military Assistance Mission, which provides assistance to Arizona active duty military and their families, to host a video submission contest for veterans in need of a vehicle to help them get back on their feet. The contest attracted 70 entries and the public voted to determine the winners.
Many of the stories were heart wrenching, but three stood out:
- Abel Bautista had a traumatic brain injury when he served in Afghanistan and he continues to suffer from seizures and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result. The xB helps his entire family and especially his wife, who does most of the driving since Abel often cannot drive due to medication he has to take.
- William “Gilbert” Brien joined the Army as a medic after high school and previously served in Afghanistan for one tour. The xB is helpful to his entire family, alleviating extra stress and providing peace of mind.
- Kurt Kronemeyer was in the Army for 21 years and served two tours, Desert Storm and Iraq. Afterward, he couldn’t work due to his injuries and was struggling to get Veterans Affairs benefits. The vehicle is a huge improvement for him and his family, as he previously had to use a ride program to take him where he needed to go.
The men attended a Veterans Day event at Big Two Toyota in Chandler, Ariz., and were surprised with the news that the vehicles were theirs, free and clear. TFS, TMS and the Valley Toyota Dealers Association took care of the bill, which is valued at more than $53,000, including taxes.
Twenty-one year Army vet Kurt Kronemeyer now owns his xB free and clear.
“It was an honor to personally thank the recipients for their heroic sacrifice for our country,” says Big Two Toyota General Manager Wally Henkel. “Big Two Toyota was eager to take part in this.”
The partnership worked well and is one that could be replicated in other regions, says Alan Mimaki, Scion business operations manager, and franchise administration manager for Toyota.
“This is a good recipe for collaboration between TFS, Toyota dealers and their associations and a chance to work with a local nonprofit organization and support a noble cause,” he says.
Most importantly, three worthy veterans received vehicles that helped improve their financial situation and quality of life for their families.
“We value the contributions and sacrifices that U.S. military personnel and their families make every day,” says John O’Malley, president of the Valley Toyota Dealers Association. “The Valley Toyota dealers have worked to show our appreciation by supporting initiatives that are important to our veterans.”