When tornadoes ripped through Kentucky earlier this year, they took with them almost the entire fleet of vehicles that Morgan County's hospital used to assist home-bound patients.
The Appalachian Regional Healthcare hospital, though, will soon have a new Toyota Highlander as it was among 100 non-profits to recently win vehicles in Toyota's second annual 100 Cars for Good contest.
"The tornado had just happened when we heard about the opportunity to apply," said Amanda Fryman, ARH's grants administrator.
In the destruction, the hospital lost 13 of its 16 vehicles, she said. While insurance is replacing some of them, the older vehicles had only liability protection.
Since that time, other ARH hospitals have loaned vehicles to the hospital, and those hospitals and supporters were also among those that helped vote for the facility to win the car in Toyota's contest, she said.
"Everyone was willing to do something to help Morgan County," Fryman said.
ARH was among seven Kentucky winners in the contest. The automaker accepted entries earlier this year and culled them to 500 finalists. The company featured five each day on its Facebook page, with the top vote-getter receiving a new ride and runners-up getting $1,000 grants.
Overall, non-profits from Kentucky won the second-highest number of vehicles, trailing only California's 10 winners. Last year, 11 of the 100 vehicles went to non-profits in Kentucky, making it the state receiving the highest number.
"There was definitely another strong representation from Kentucky in this year's campaign," said Toyota spokesman Rick Hesterberg. "I think it demonstrates the passion that Kentuckians have for the non-profit organizations that they support."
In total, 19 Kentucky organizations were selected among the 500 finalists. Non-profits that win vehicles must wait three years to enter the contest again.
Among the other Kentucky winners this year was Danville's Heritage Hospice, which plans to use its Highlander for delivery of services and equipment to its home-bound patients.
"We had tried in 2011 and when we got a second opportunity, we were very determined to make it happen this time," said Emily Toadvine, community outreach coordinator. "We got a little bit more Facebook savvy and reached out as best we could."