Toyota W.Va. donates to mobility programs in Kanawha Valley

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Toyota W.Va. donates to mobility programs in Kanawha Valley
Wavelene Leone stands beside an accessible Siena provided to the Putnam County Aging Program.

BUFFALO, W.Va. — is putting the automaker’s mission in motion as officials announce three donations to improve mobility in the western Mountain State. The donations are the result of a research study of transportation challenges in the region.

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According to David Rosier, president of Toyota West Virginia, the gifts were provided to help those most in need of mobility in the Kanawha Valley region.

“Toyota strives to raise the quality and availability of mobility and to alleviate transportation burdens for those most vulnerable in our area,” Rosier said.

“Today’s announcement is another step  toward helping our community reach its full potential.”

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  • Good News Mountaineer Garage received $30,000 to support repairs for used vehicles. The garage helps economically disadvantaged individuals re-enter the workforce by providing transportation for them to attain employment or achieve educational goals.
  • Putnam County Aging Program received an accessible Sienna to serve their senior clients. Putnam County Aging provides services that enable county residents, age 60 and above, to remain living independently in their own homes for as long as possible. The accessible vehicle allows for easier pick-up and drop-off of their clients.
  • Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority received a Sienna to serve students at BridgeValley Community and Technical College. The KRT is a public transportation system serving Kanawha County and portions of Fayette and Putnam counties.

In 2022, Toyota West Virginia partnered with the Community Transportation Association of America to conduct a mobility-needs assessment in Putnam County and surrounding areas.

The study found that older adults, higher-education students, and economically-disadvantaged individuals were disproportionately impacted by existing mobility gaps.

Toyota West Virginia is Toyota’s only combined engine and transmission plant in North America. Its $2 billion facility along the Kanawha River near Buffalo employs more than 2,000 people.

The plant has invested more than $10 million in local philanthropic and educational initiatives over the past two decades.

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Recipients of the donations expressed their thanks while explaining how their programs would benefit the public in the Kanawha Valley region.

Sean Hill, executive director of the Kanawha Valley transportation authority, emphasized the help the donation would provide students in the region.

“I am thrilled that Toyota had the vision to make a partnership possible that will help solve the transportation challenge that students face,” Hill said. “We are working together to make education a priority and prepare the area’s workforce for their upcoming careers.”

Jennifer Thacker, executive director of Good News Mountaineer Garage, pointed out the security the repair program will provide area residents.

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“Good News Mountaineer Garage has enjoyed a long partnership with Toyota West Virginia,” Thacker said. “By helping those who need the most secure, safe, reliable transportation, we are ensuring that our clients are building better lives for themselves and their families.”

Jenni Sutherland, executive director of the Putnam County Aging Program, said the gift of the wheelchair-accessible vehicle will greatly help her agency provide services.

“The Putnam County Aging Program is proud of the role we have played in helping elderly and disabled adults with access to critical care services,” Sutherland said.

“This collaboration with Toyota and CTAA has helped our agency meet the increased demand for transportation services and improved the reliability of our transportation program.”

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The Toyota plant in West Virginia has invested more than $10 million in local philanthropic and educational initiatives over the past two decades.

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