‘It Feels Unbelievable:’ Thanks to Hiring Our Heroes, Air Force Veteran Will Drive New Toyota to Her Wedding

Christina Sheets sits inside her new Toyota
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Hiring Our Heroes

U.S. Air Force veteran Christina Sheets never expected to win a 2024 Toyota Camry XSE.

“I always hope I will win, but I usually don’t. I’m not lucky,” she said.

Well, she can’t call herself unlucky anymore — Sheets is a Committed to America’s Heroes Sweepstakes winner.

“It still feels a bit unbelievable. I’ve never won anything before. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said.

Later this spring, Sheets and her fiancé will drive her new Toyota to Las Vegas for their wedding.

“I’m excited to take home this Camry,” she said. “It’s dependable and safe with good gas mileage. It’s a great car for our future family.” 

selfie of happy couple

Providing a new vehicle to a deserving member of the military community is possible through a long-standing partnership between Hiring Our Heroes and Toyota North America. This is the sixth time Hiring Our Heroes has given away a new Toyota.

“We appreciate these types of partnerships and being able to give back to the military community,” said Lauren Pedersen, District Sales Manager at Toyota North America. “Veterans do so much for us. This is a small thank you in gratitude.”

Veterans do so much for us. This is a small thank you.

Lauren Pedersen, District Sales Manager at Toyota North America

Munitions and Missile Maintenance Officer in the Air Force

After graduating from high school in Encampment, Wyoming, Sheets considered volunteering for military service. She was curious, but unable to commit. She worried about not enjoying military life.

Instead, she studied anthropology and statistics at the University of Wyoming (UW). During her freshman year, she became friends with several students in the UW Air Force ROTC program. She noticed how much they enjoyed the program. Soon, Sheets decided to join them.

“ROTC felt like a great way to see if the military was a good fit for me,” Sheets said.

She became a munitions and missile maintenance officer in the U.S. Air Force in 2014. Her military career started with the 5th Maintenance Group at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. Next, Sheets worked at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. From there, she transferred to Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Three years ago, she separated from the Air Force and moved to Port Orchard, Washington.

“It was a great seven years in the Air Force. I learned a lot and made a lot of friends,” she said. “The people you work within the military are amazing.”

Air Force group

Missing the Military Culture

Now, Sheets is earning a master’s degree in library and information sciences at the University of Washington.

“My transition was fairly easy because I was focused on the school, and I had a really good support system between my family and my fiancé,” she said.

looking at the tulips in Washington State

In June, Sheets will receive her graduate degree. Meanwhile, this student veteran is also trying to figure out how to communicate her military experience in terms civilian employers will understand.

“I would say my transition is more of a struggle now than before,” she said. “I miss the military culture, so I’ve been looking at jobs with defense contractors.”

Toyota and Hiring Our Heroes Care About America’s Veterans

Sheets received her new Toyota during a vehicle presentation at the Toyota of Renton dealership in Renton, Washington. During the event, Sheets expressed her gratitude to Hiring Our Heroes, Toyota North America, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). She learned about the contest in a VA newsletter.

“It just proves that keeping involved with veteran- and military spouse-centric organizations can pay off. I’m glad it did for you, Christina,” said John Lombardo, Acting Director of the VA Seattle Regional Office.

Air Force veteran Christina Sheets is the Committed to America’s Heroes Sweepstakes winner.

The Committed to America’s Heroes Sweepstakes is about more than giving away a brand-new car, said Hiring Our Heroes President Eric Eversole.

“It’s an opportunity to thank one veteran for her service to this country and to show how much Hiring Our Heroes and Toyota care,” he said.

Winning a new Toyota is a humbling experience — one that is hard to put into words.

“Sometimes, as a veteran, it can feel like you have been forgotten,” she said. “It’s nice to know somebody hasn’t forgotten what you did in the military and the sacrifices you made.”

Toyota North America partners with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes to address the issue of unemployment among veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses. We work together to help the military community successfully drive their future and integrate into the American workforce. 

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