Paralyzed veterans receive mobility van from Rohrich Toyota in Pittsburgh

by: Rob Johnston Updated:

Bill and Shirley Wheaton, Bill Jackovich and Jim Riemer.

PITTSBURGH - Keystone Paralyzed Veterans of America was the recipient of a Toyota Sienna Mobility Van as part of Toyota's 100 Cars for Good program.

Mark Podrosky, general manager of Rohrich Toyota, presented the van to representatives from Keystone Paralyzed Veterans at the West Liberty Avenue dealership on Tuesday.

“We are very fortunate at Rohrich to be in the position to take Toyota’s generosity and extend it to the Keystone Paralyzed Veterans. I can’t think of a better organization than the veterans who have protected us and need this type of mobility,” said Podrosky.

KPVA is on the ground serving paralyzed vets in Pennsylvania. A very small staff of three supports about 300 paralyzed vets and monitors treatment conditions in five VA medical centers in PA.

“Currently, we don't have the capacity to provide transportation for our vets,” says Executive Director Joe Dornbrock. “We’ll use this mobility van to guarantee that our paralyzed veterans get to their most important medical event of the year--their annual medical exam. Our next step is to seek a group of volunteer drivers for the van."

James Riemer of Butler serves as the vice president and national director of the Keystone chapter of the PVA and said he personally knows how important this new vehicle will be.

“I was hurt 27 years ago. I started driving six years after my injury, so I was fortunate to be able to travel to doctor’s visits. A lot of veterans are not as lucky as I am. With the way bus services are being cut, a lot of veterans who live in town have trouble getting around, so this will really help,” said Riemer.

The local chapter anticipates that this vehicle will be able to help about 75 vets who would otherwise have no way of making it to their appointments. 

“Every year, we support the community in many ways, and we are delighted to be a part of the 100 Cars for Good program, and applaud the incredible work that Keystone Paralyzed Veterans provides to our community,” said Podrosky.

100 Cars for Good is the first Toyota initiative that engages the public to determine how corporate philanthropic donations will be awarded.

During the voting phase, which began May 14, 2012, the 100 Cars for Good program profiled five finalists www.100carsforgood.com. Individual members of the public were able to vote for which nonprofit they believed could do the most good with a new vehicle.  The nonprofit with the most votes at the end of each day won one of six Toyota models.  Runners-up each received a $1,000 cash grant from Toyota.

“There are a lot of organizations that have vans that take veterans to hospital visits, but not many have wheelchair lifts. We focus on spinal cord injury and disease research at Paralyzed Veterans of America, so our goal is to get veterans to the hospitals more efficiently. This generous donation will do just that,” said Riemer.

For more information about the Keystone Paralyzed Veterans of America visit: http://www.kpva.org/