Disabled Veteran Wins 2017 Toyota Tundra

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A 36-year-old U.S. Air Force vet with terrible luck finally got lucky, driving away with a brand-new Toyota truck.

Steven Hale, from Napa, California, did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and was stationed in South Korea according to a Patch story. He was an aircraft mechanic and he might still be serving today if a 100-pound generator didn’t drop on him causing damage to his shoulder. Also, while in the service, he was hit by a drunk driver, breaking his neck and back.

These events led to a 2005 medical discharge and a limited retirement pay from the military. Buying a new truck was going to be tough on his income, but his 2004 Honda Civic was starting to give him problems. Plus, he needed something more reliable since he helps take his 77-year-old father and 70-year-old mother back and forth to medical appointments.

Hale didn’t know it, but his luck was about to change. He says he was approached about buying a raffle ticket for a new Chevrolet Silverado truck. He also learned the fundraiser was to help build the North Bay BMX track, which holds a special memory for him.

“I honestly didn’t think I was going to win a truck, but when I saw it was a fundraiser for the BMX track, I thought it was a really worthwhile cause,” Hale said. “I remember riding in the hills when I was kid.”

He purchased the $25 ticket and went on with his life.

A few months later, he learned the raffle had changed and Jimmy Vasser Toyota of Napa was now promoting a Toyota Tundra as the prize.

A short time later, he got a call that he won the truck.

“After I hung up the phone, I walked in the house and my mom thought something was wrong; she said I was pasty white and she told me to sit down,” Hale said. “She thought maybe one of my brothers had done something. But then my Dad and I went down to the dealership and saw that it was true. It was a pretty amazing day. For it to happen to me was pretty special.”

Even better, the raffle raised $50,000 for the North Bay BMX track, and the Vasser Toyota staff was really happy with the winner.

“Of all of the people who could have won, a disabled veteran actually did, and as a Marine Corps veteran, it’s especially heartwarming for me,” said Troy Pelzl, managing partner of Vasser Toyota.

We couldn’t agree more.

Tim Esterdahl is a regular contributor to YotaTech and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. He produces the weekly podcast Pickup Truck Talk.

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