Koons Automotive rallies behind local family, donates mobility vehicle

Ryan Diviney has been in a coma since 2009 after suffering a severe beating while attending West Virginia University. A former athlete, Ryan now remains in a vegetative state in his home in Ashburn, Va. His father Ken tirelessly looks after him. The family began the website RyansRally.org to share their challenging journey and to collect donations for medical bills, supplies and other items they might need. One of Divineys’ desperate needs is a mobility van to help transport their son.

Enter Ryan’s sister, Kari.

The family currently uses a 1982 Chevy van to transport Ryan. Unfortunately, that van just does not meet their needs – it doesn’t properly fit his wheelchair and is not equipped with newer safety features found on current vehicles.

Last spring, knowing her family could not afford a new mobility vehicle on their own, Kari took the initiative to reach out to local dealerships in hopes of finding one that could help her family change this. Read the letter she wrote to the dealership here.

“Unknown to us, our daughter, Kari, reached out to nearly every automotive dealer in the area asking for one to take notice. Only one – Koons – responded.” -Ken Diviney, father of Ryan Diviney

Enter Jim Koons Automotive.

After hearing from Kari, the dealership began learning more and following RyansRally.org and Ken’s active social media updates.

“Upon seeing the Today Show and [Washington Post] piece on the family,” wrote David Telfer, director of digital and social media for the dealer group, in an email. “Seeing the constant [Facebook, Twitter and blog] updates from Mr. Diviney, we were struck by how awe-inspiring this family is.”

Here’s a rendering of how the Toyota Sienna mobility van will look. Photo via www.braunability.com.

Today, December 17, 2012, members of the Koons family and team of employees will personally deliver a Toyota Sienna mobility vehicle to Ryan Diviney and his family. The van has been altered to include a wheelchair ramp, something their existing vehicle does not have, so that Ryan can travel outside the home more easily. Koons is donating the entire cost of the vehicle, which averages roughly $30,000 base retail, plus the extra $20,000 required to properly upfit it.

“The story of the Diviney family is a touching and heartwarming example of how families come together during times of great difficulty,” said Krystal Koons, spokesperson for Jim Koons Automotive companies. “I cannot stress enough what an inspiration this family is, and should be, to families across our community. Given the extreme circumstances in which the Diviney family has found themselves, it is truly heartwarming to see the level of love and devotion this family has displayed for Ryan.”

Koons Tysons Toyota is the highest volume Toyota dealership in the region, and they’re choosing to donate those funds to the Diviney family so they can more easily transport Ryan. The donation is part of a national program Toyota for charitable giving among its franchise dealers. Depending on dealership size and annual sales, dealers accrue charitable funds from Toyota which they can donate at their discretion.

Editor’s note: This time of year, we are reminded to think beyond ourselves. In spite of the endless commercials directing us where and what to buy for our loved ones, we somehow still take time to think and reflect on how well we may have treated others in the 11 months leading up to this last one of the year. Christmas, Hanukkah and the holiday season as a whole help remind us that no matter how busy we get, how focused we’ve been on ourselves and our own lives, that there are people all around us who are in greater need. I hope this story warmed your heart like the many other stories of giving you read this season.

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Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.