GEORGETOWN, KENTUCKY, (May 5, 2010) — Berea resident Kenny Merritt, a Skilled Team Member in Powertrain Maintenance at Toyota, has taken home Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky’s (TMMK) top volunteer honor. Merritt was recently recognized with the 2009 President’s Award for Volunteer of the Year.
Along with Merritt, four other team members were recognized for their volunteer work. Bethany Giordano - Facilities Control, Dorothy McManigle – Corporate Administration, Mike Miller - Powertrain and JP Switzer - Powertrain were acknowledged for their volunteerism in the community.
It’s the third year Kenny Merritt has been recognized and his first as the company’s top volunteer. Over the years, Merritt has participated in many volunteer activities including preparing and serving meals to Hope Center residents and creating food boxes for Feed the Children International.
He also participated in a fundraiser for the New Opportunity School for Women and spent a week remodeling a basement for the organization.
Merritt is especially active with Special Olympics Kentucky. In 2009, his commitment to Special Olympics took him all over the state and totaled nearly 2,000 miles of driving time. He served as venue director or field supervisor for a variety of sports ranging from bocce to softball. Merritt also served as co-captain for Team Toyota at the Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge and was named the 2009 “King of the Plunge” for raising the most money for the event - $2,245.
In addition to receiving a personalized trophy, the Volunteer of the Year also has a $3,000 donation given on their behalf to a charity of their choice. Merritt chose to honor Special Olympics Kentucky. TMMK also recognized the charities of the remaining Top Five volunteers. A check for $1,500 were presented on behalf of Bethany Giordano: Scott County Humane Society, Dorothy McManigle: Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, Mike Miller: Speak Out and Rescue and JP Switzer: Harrison County 4H.
In 2009, through TMMK’s Volunteers-In-Place program, nearly 1,600 team members recorded almost 33,000 man hours in the community. However, Volunteer of the Year is not decided solely on hours logged. The volunteers are graded on a scoring system that awards points in various areas including, diversity of the activity, impact on the community, leadership roles undertaken and participation in TMMK sponsored activities.
TMMK is Toyota’s largest manufacturing facility in North America employing about 6,600 full-time team members. The Georgetown, Kentucky plant represents a $5.3 billion investment and produces the Camry, Camry Hybrid, and Avalon sedans and the Venza crossover vehicle.
Toyota (NYSE:TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. There are more than 1,400 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in the U.S. which sold more than 1.77 million vehicles in 2009. Toyota directly employs nearly 34,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota's annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from North American suppliers totals nearly $25 billion.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc.