VMI Winners Circle
Welcome to VMI’s winners circle! A place to get to know our previous contest winners and learn their stories. We love the work we do because we get to see firsthand the positive impact our mobility solutions have on the lives of our customers. Together with these lucky winners, we imagined possibilities and realized them.
Claim Your Space National Sweepstakes Winner
– Martha Dominguez
Martha Dominguez of Albuquerque, NM is the winner of the 2016 Claim Your Space National Sweepstakes. Dominguez’s youngest son, Miguel Perez, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at age 2. He is now 16. Dominguez was awarded $10,000 toward her VMI Northstar™ in-floor, side-entry conversion for her 2015 Toyota Sienna. In response to winning, Dominguez remarked, “This van conversion changes a person’s life completely…It is so much easier getting where you need to go when you have access to a van like this.”
Dare To Compare Challenge Winner
– Denise Cody
Congratulations to the winner of VMI’s 2016 Dare to Compare Challenge, Denise Cody! Cody was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy as a young teenager and was told she only live for a few more years. Cody said she walked out of that doctor’s appointment and kept on going. 40 years later, she has had a full and active life, raising an adopted son and working full-time. She says her new VMI Summit Conversion will provide her the independence she needs to be herself again.
– John Rose
The winner of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) Local Heroes contest is Miami, FL based John Rose. John has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or what is more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. After his diagnosis, John — a choir director who lost the ability to conduct with his arms — continued his love of both music and teaching by founding a non-profit summer camp where children learn all aspects of the arts. American Honda Motor Co. generously donated a new Odyssey minivan and Vantage Mobility happily added the wheelchair conversion; the vehicle was awarded to John so that he and his wife can fulfill their desire to travel.
Dare To Compare Challenge Winner
– The Gomez Family
The winners of VMI’s 2015 Dare to Compare Challenge are Angel Gomez-Perez and his family! Angel and his wife Desiree care for their five-year-old daughter, Maya, who was born with cerebral palsy. Gomez, who entered the contest soon after buying a van with a VMI Northstar E conversion, won the value of his conversion as part of the Dare to Compare Challenge. “We had a tough time before this van,” he said. “I cannot begin to tell you how many ways this van has improved our daily lives.”
– Cynthia Noonan
Congratulations to Cynthia Noonan, who was chosen as a Local Heroes Winner for the 2015 the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) National Mobility Awareness Month. In 2007, Cynthia was affected by the onset of Transverse Myelitis, a rare autoimmune disease that made her a C5 quadriplegic. She is making a difference in her local community by creating wonderful activities for people with all types of physical disabilities. On January 14, 2016, at the Mobility Works store located in Oakland, CA, Cynthia was awarded with a free 2015 Honda Odyssey with the VMI Northstar E ramp conversion.
Star Spangled Salute Winner
– Susan Kirsch
Susan Kirsch was the 2014 Star Spangled Salute winner! The Star Spangled Salute contest is part of VMI’s veteran’s program, Operation Independence. This contest is a way for VMI to give back to those brave men and women who have given so much for our country. Kirsch, a disabled U.S. Air Force Veteran, won a 2015 Toyota Sienna with the Northstar Access360TM in-floor side entry ramp conversion from Toyota and VMI.
– Rose Pascales
VMI’s E-venture contest winners of 2014 were the Pascale family of Birmingham, Alabama! The contest was created to give caregivers the chance to enjoy an adventure in the 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan with the Northstar E manual side ramp conversion. The Pascale family used the opportunity to take their son Joe on a trip to his favorite college campus, something they couldn’t do before having their VMI van!
– Courtney Boyll
The winner of the 2014 NMEDA Local Hero Contest was Courtney Boyll! Toyota and VMI are happy to honor her with a 2014 Toyota Sienna with VMI’s Northstar Access360TM conversion. A wife, mother of three, teacher and coach; Boyll won over the contest voters with her story of community involvement and her optimism in the face of adversity. “I was in a car accident when I was 16 and was paralyzed from the chest down,” Boyll said. “But all things are possible when you believe.”
Star Spangled Salute Winner
– Charlie Harvey
Retired U.S. Army veteran Charlie Harvey was 2013’s Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest winner! As part of VMI’s veteran program Operation Independence, the Star Spangled Salute contest is a chance to give back to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our nation. Together with VMI, Toyota and NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip presented Harvey with a 2013 Toyota Sienna SE with VMI’s Northstar Access360TM in-floor conversion.
– Steve Herbst
The winner of VMI’s 2013 Local Heroes Contest was Steve Herbst of Palatine, Illinois! Herbst won a 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Edition with VMI Northstar conversion. The contest was a chance for an outstanding disabled individual in his or her community to win a wheelchair accessible vehicle. For Herbst, the Local Heroes Contest couldn’t have come at a better time. “I lost the ability to drive my previous vehicle shortly before we heard about the contest,” he said. “Throughout the contest we had tremendous support from friends, family and co-workers. We received almost 38,000 votes, which is very humbling to think about.”
– Davert Family
The winners of VMI’s first ever Local Heroes Contest were Ken and Missy Davert! The Davert family won a 2013 Honda Odyssey with VMI Northstar conversion. The contest was in conjunction with National Mobility Awareness Month and the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Missy Davert said, “As a family of four, with three of us in wheelchairs, we can accomplish so much more in a day, so much easier and so much more comfortably than ever before.”