Local nonprofit wins Toyota Highlander
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer
COLUMBIANA – K9 Specialty Services of Alabama will be cruising in style after the nonprofit won a Toyota Highlander during Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program July 23.
The nonprofit was originally selected from 5,000 national nonprofits, then 500 organizations were divided into 100 groups of five. For 100 days, five different nonprofits competed each day for the most votes on the Toyota 100 Cars for Good Facebook page.
As of about 10 p.m. July 23, K9 Specialty Services was winning by about 47 percent of the votes, beating out four other nonprofits.
Columbiana resident Les Brown, co-founder of K9 Special Services of Alabama, credits the community for voting for the nonprofit, but specifically noted Gordon Stewart’s involvement. Stewart, owner of Hoover Toyota, promoted people to vote via the dealership’s Facebook page.
“It’s official! The little doggies have won,” read the Hoover Toyota Facebook page. “K9 Specialty Services of Alabama just won a national competition for a new Toyota. Thanks to all who voted.”
Brown said Toyota has to verify the authenticity of the nonprofit’s 501c3 status before awarding the car, and no date is set for that now. A future date will be set for a “party” at Hoover Toyota when the nonprofit will receive its new Toyota Highlander.
“My wife and a couple of the members (of the nonprofit) did a lot of work on this. They went above and beyond,” Brown said. “We can’t thank Mr. Stewart enough either. We feel real happy and lucky.
“There were a lot of organizations competing for this, and we were real fortunate to make it to the final,” he added. “Yesterday, people really pushed the voting to their friends. We didn’t know we had that many friends out there.”