Special Olympics Flame of Hope Arrives at Morgan’s Wonderland

Local athletes, Morgan’s Wonderland team members and Toyota executives participate in Unified Relay Across America
June 22, 2015
SAN ANTONIO (June 22, 2015) – Morgan’s Wonderland and Toyota celebrated Special Olympics athletes at the San Antonio-based family theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind.
 
Local Special Olympics Athletes Scott Mena and Kristen Medley participated by cheering on Toyota Texas’ General Manager of the Assembly Division Brad Nye and Morgan’s Wonderland Founder Gordon Hartman and park namesake Morgan Hartman as they carried the Flame of Hope in a half-mile torch run around the park’s scenic lake en route  to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.
 
“Special Olympics has such a positive, strong impact on athletes and those who participate, and everyone at Toyota is proud to play a supporting role in the World Games and Special Olympics USA,” said Brad Nye, general manager, assembly division, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas. “We’re looking forward to following the progress of all the local athletes and cheering them on!”
 
“Being a part of the Unified Relay Across America is a truly gratifying and humbling experience,” said Gordon Hartman, founder of Morgan’s Wonderland. “It is because of our team members’ commitment to inclusion, and partners like Toyota that have strong community-based partnerships, that we can participate in meaningful events such as this. We look forward to celebrating the achievements of the Special Olympics athletes from Texas!”
 
Yesterday's San Antonio ceremony was 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.
 
In addition to torch stops, Toyota dealers nationwide are supporting Special Olympics USA athletes and coaches in their journey to the Games through a fundraising program.
 
“Toyota really stepped up to show their support for Special Olympics Texas and our athletes,” said Margaret Larsen, President and CEO of Special Olympics Texas. “We are thankful for their leadership and commitment to helping develop our athletes and create communities of inclusion for all citizens.”
 
Texas has fourteen athletes competing at the World Games, as members of Special Olympics USA. Also representing the Lone Star state will be nine volunteer coaches who will be serving as head and assistant coaches in an array of sports for Special Olympics USA athletes from throughout the country.

Toyota’s San Antonio manufacturing plant also boasts a Business Practice Group dedicated solely to those that have family members or friends dealing with special needs, ToyotAbility.
 
TMMTX is the home of the Toyota Tundra full-size pickup, and also produces the ever-popular mid-size Tacoma. Founded on Texas Tradition in 1794, the oldest working ranch in Texas was acquired by Toyota in 2003. The manufacturing facility occupies 2,000 acres of the ranchland south of downtown San Antonio and began operations in 2006.
 
As a good corporate citizen, Toyota contributes to economic and social development in local communities, giving back to the communities where its team members live and work. When Toyota broke ground in San Antonio, it demonstrated its commitment to the community by providing donations supporting local organizations.
 
The Special Olympics event complements Toyota’s local investment in employment, philanthropic efforts and environmental responsibility. To date, Toyota has donated more than $700 million to non-profits across the U.S.
 
Morgan’s Wonderland is one of many highly visible initiatives of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation to help those with special needs. Encompassing 25 acres, the unique, colorful, safe and affordable theme park offers fun for all ages and abilities. It’s located in Northeast San Antonio, a half-mile west of IH 35 at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive in what once was a quarry. VacationHomeRentals.com, an affiliate of Trip Advisor, has named Morgan’s Wonderland the “best family attraction” in Texas.
 
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About Toyota.
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.  
 
Diversity and inclusion are long standing priorities for Toyota, grounded in our core values of respect and continuous improvement for people. Diversity and inclusion are central to all aspects of Toyota - our customers, employees, dealers, suppliers and the local communities where we operate. For more information on Toyota's commitment to diversity and inclusion, visit www.toyota.com/usa/diversity.  For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/community.
 
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 FacebookTwitter and Instagram.
 
About Special Olympics USA
Special Olympics USA will send a 481 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 41 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.
 
 About Morgan’s Wonderland
Morgan’s Wonderland is one of many highly visible initiatives of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation to help those with special needs.  Encompassing 25 acres, the unique, colorful, safe and affordable theme park offers fun for all ages and abilities. It’s located in Northeast San Antonio, a half-mile west of IH 35 at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive in what once was a quarry.  VacationHomeRentals.com, an affiliate of Trip Advisor, has named Morgan’s Wonderland the “best family attraction” in Texas.
 
Media Contacts
Tassi Castillo, Allison+Partners, (308) 539-1883
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toyota philanthropy world games 2015 special olympics 2015 special olympics world games

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Three Special Olympics athletes from Texas and Morgan Hartman celebrate the Flame of Hope and the 2015 Special Olympics World Games as the Flame of Hope passed through San Antonio at Morgan’s Wonderland on Sunday, June 21. 
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