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Dealership shows support for paralyzed veterans

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MADISON (WKOW) -- East Madison Toyota held a car show Friday to support military members who have been injured while serving.

People brought their cars to the dealership to raise money for the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA).

According to its mission statement, the organization was designed and "dedicated to serving veterans—and to medical research, advocacy and civil rights for all people with disabilities."

Vietnam Army veteran Jerry Lawler brought his car to the show and said it's important to not forget any veteran, young or old.

"My message is to not forget the older veterans and the young veterans, and they need help," Lawler said.

"There's a VA hospital in Madison. I'm currently being treated there," he said. "It's important that we serve those who served us."

Lawler said his brothers, his father and his grandfather all served in the military and serving in Vietnam shaped him into the person he is today.

"I was 20 when I went over there, {Vietnam] and it opened my eyes to war, and what it really means, and I think that if one experiences war, and death, one has a great deal of respect for life."

The Toyota dealership matched money that people donated to PVA and the general manager said their parent company, Penske Automotive Group, has been donating to the organization for the last few years.

"With inventory being at record lows right now, we have nine acres of space and no cars," said East Madison Toyota general manager John Wineke.

"Traditionally, a store like ours would have over 400 cars on the ground and right now we have less than five. So we got all the space, why not use it?" Wineke said.

Navy veteran Emanuel Voeltz also volunteers at the VA and said he's thankful for the time he served so it means everything to give back.

"The veterans who have fought and who are not with us, they need all the honors that they can get," said Voeltz. "They gave up their life to give us what we got."

Penske Automotive Group has donated more than $6 million to the organization since 2015, according to the PVA.

Payton Muse

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