Plano, TX – In a paradigm shifted ever so slightly, Toyota’s temporary headquarters in Plano recently hosted the Special Olympics United Relay Across America. The shift? While Toyota moves its corporate headquarters from the Los Angeles area to North Texas, the Special Olympics flame was traversing Texas en route to L.A. Carrying the Special Olympics Flame of Hope was Toyota’s Steve Curtis and Terri Von Lehmden, accompanied by local Special Olympics athletes and their families. And if North Texas’ June heat wasn’t melting your heart, the very real involvement by a global corporation in the lives of these very special Special Olympians would.
The ceremony, with remarks by both Toyota CEO Jim Lentz and Plano mayor Harry LaRosiliere, was attended by the athletes and their families, along with most of the first 100 employees who have moved to North Texas. Given that relatively small number, it was possible to include everyone, something Toyota would have been hard pressed to do in Torrance, where Toyota employs several thousand. Notably, the lunch was handled by one food truck.
With Avril Lavigne’s Fly soaring through the ceremony’s temporary sound system, the torch arrived and departed in relative quiet on this suburban corporate campus. Once in Los Angeles, the Flame of Hope will stand at the epicenter of a competition hosting some 7,000 athletes, 30,000 volunteers and roughly 500,000 spectators. The USA contingent will comprise 482 athletes, coaches and official delegates to the games, which begin July 25th. The athletes will compete in 17 sports, including aquatics, track and field, basketball, gymnastics and powerlifting.
In his remarks, Toyota CEO Jim Lentz noted that Toyota’s participation was a “truly gratifying and humbling experience for Toyota.” As it was for those watching with a notebook…