PLANO, Texas, June 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- En route to the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015, Toyota celebrates the Flame of Hope arriving at the temporary Toyota headquarters (TCAL) Friday afternoon as part of the Unified Relay Across America. Toyota's Steve Curtis, vice president of corporate communications; and Terri Von Lehmden, national manager, PMO & talent acquisition, made the half-mile torch run down Legacy Drive in Plano, Texas. As Curtis and Von Lehmden arrived at headquarters, they were greeted by local Special Olympics athletes and their families, Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor North America chief executive officer, and one-hundred of the first Toyota employees who have moved to Texas.
As the Flame of Hope was carried onto Toyota soil, Lentz addressed the crowd in attendance reiterating Toyota's commitment to Special Olympics USA, what it means for Toyota to be a part of the World Games Los Angeles 2015, as well as the Unified Relay Across America.
"Today is a truly gratifying and humbling experience for Toyota," said Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor North America, chief executive officer. "Toyota is proud to play a supporting role in the World Games and Special Olympics USA. Toyota will continue to celebrate and support the abilities of Special Olympics athletes and the overall mission of this great organization."
Curtis and Von Lehmden concluded Friday's festivities as they departed TCAL with another half-mile run down the route and handed the torch off to a waiting Toyota vehicle, which will help deliver the torch to the next stop in Arlington.
Friday's ceremony is part of an ongoing celebration from Toyota as the Official Automotive Sponsor of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, taking place in Los Angeles from July 25 to August 2. With more than 7,000 athletes, 177 represented countries and 30,000 volunteers, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games will be the largest sports and humanitarian event this year. Toyota is raising awareness and support around the Special Olympics World Games, and joining in its mission of acceptance, inclusion and embracing diversity.
"Toyota has been a tremendous partner of the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 and throughout many segments of the Unified Relay Across America, said Chris Hahn, Head of Delegation for Special Olympics USA, adding, "We are particularly thankful for their support of Special Olympics USA."
The Special Olympics event is just one example of how Toyota is engaged philanthropically in the state of Texas. Toyota has made numerous investments since 1991, which includes $3.9 billion into the state's economy and $17.9 million in nonprofit contributions.
Javier Moreno, Toyota Corporate Communications
Josh Reed, Allison+Partners
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Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we've built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 42,000 people (more than 33,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.67 million cars and trucks (more than 2.35 million in the U.S.) in 2014 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.
Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this commitment, we share the company's extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.
About the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games – being staged in Los Angeles July 25 - August 2, 2015 – will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. On April 30, 2014, LA2015 and ESPN announced a global programming deal that will see ESPN bring coverage of World Games to millions of fans around the world. LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee, is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.LA2015.org and on social with #ReachUpLA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Special Olympics USA
Special Olympics USA will send a 482 member delegation of athletes, coaches and official delegates to represent the United States at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, being held July 25-August 2, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. The "home team" will include 344 athletes and Unified Partners, representing all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Athletes will compete in 17 sports, including aquatics, athletics (track & field), basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian, golf, gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic), kayaking, powerlifting, sailing, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball. The team includes several Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams, where people with and without intellectual disability compete together, as teammates. Special Olympics USA is supported by 96 volunteer coaches and 42 volunteer sports and management team members. Official sponsors for Special Olympics USA include Finish Line, Toyota, Champion, The Coca-Cola Company, American Federation of Teachers, Tommie Copper, Midwest Trophy Manufacturing, KPMG – Golf team sponsor, Mattel – Cycling team sponsor, and Speedo USA – Swimming team official supplier. To learn more and to follow the team, visit http://www.specialolympicsusa.org/, Facebook - www.facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsUSA, Twitter - @SpecialOlyUSA, Instagram - SpecialOlympicsUSA.