Keystone Van

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News May 2013

Keystone PVA receives new accessible van from Toyota.

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A new Toyota Sienna van adapted for transporting wheelchair users is being put to good use by the Keystone Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA).

The February donation of the van by the Toyota Motor Corporation was through that company’s “100 Cars for Good” charitable promotion in summer 2012. Toyota invited thousands of charities across the country to enter. The company selected 500 finalists and arranged for five charities each day for 100 days to be posted on  the 100 Cars for Good Facebook page.

Then for 24 hours, the public could vote on the agency they believed would benefit most from a new vehicle. 

Keystone PVA will use its new Toyota van to transport PVA members and perhaps others with mobility issues.

Keystone Chapter’s day was Aug. 13, during the PVA annual convention. Vice President/National Director Jim Riemer and Executive Director Joe Dornbrock were at the convention as the results came in.

“I was stunned at the support we received,” recalls Dornbrock. “Friends were sending us emails telling us how Keystone was leading the other four also-worthy charities, at one point, with 51% of that day’s vote. Our lead held, and we were notified officially a few days later that we had won the Toyota vehicle of our choice.”

Dornbrock says Toyota’s generosity of donating the $60,000 van was overwhelming. 

The van was presented at Rohrich Toyota of Pittsburgh. General Manager Mark Podrosky arranged for a presentation that included staff from Toyota’s regional office, members of the media, and members of the Keystone Chapter. Rohrich Toyota will perform maintenance on the van and train drivers in its operation.

Keystone Coach Works will train drivers in the use of the wheelchair-user-specific equipment in the van, and also made a generous cash donation to the Keystone Chapter.

“Not all vets qualify for Department of Veterans Affairs-provided transportation, and not all paralyzed vets have their own suitable vehicle or even the ability to drive one,” Riemer says.  “Keystone Chapter will use this vehicle to fill the gaps, first for our members in Allegheny County while we get a handle on our new program. If we can handle the demand, we’ll expand it.”

Applications for volunteer drivers are being accepted. Dornbrock hopes to have enough volunteers who are willing to donate about a half day a couple of times a month. He says the chapter will assist and pay for the clearances the drivers will be required to have.

“In addition to potential drivers, we can use some additional financial support for this program,” Dornbrock says. “We’ll have some out-of-pocket expenses on top of the generous donation of the van, such as fuel and insurance.”

Dornbrock is well aware the Keystone Chapter has many people to thank for winning the van.

“Who knew we had so many people willing to vote for us, and such great charitable support from Toyota?” he says. “I guess we get by with a lot of help from our friends — apologies to the Beatles.”


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