As the winner of the Committed to America’s Heroes sweepstakes, Hiring Our Heroes and Toyota North America recently presented a 2022 Toyota RAV4 hybrid to Air Force veteran Adlai Ceja at Findlay Toyota in Henderson, Nevada.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ceja was selected as the sweepstakes winner from nearly 234,000 registered military community members.
Originally from California, Ceja enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 2012 when he was 18 years old. He served as an ophthalmic technician for six years before transitioning to the Nevada Air National Guard. Now, he is a production recruiter.
“I love being a recruiter. I love being able to help people out,” Ceja told Hiring Our Heroes.
As a recruiter, Ceja helps young adults jumpstart their careers just like his recruiter helped him a decade ago. Ceja is a first-generation American. Unsure how he would be able to afford to go to college, Ceja volunteered for military service. That decision turned out to be a great one for Ceja.
The same sentiment could be said for his decision to enter the 2021 Committed to America’s Heroes sweepstakes after seeing the drawing in an email from the VA. As the winner, Ceja was given a brand-new Toyota. Findlay Toyota paid the sales tax and registration fees. The dealership even made sure that Ceja’s RAV4 had a full tank of gas.
During the award presentation, Ceja thanked Findlay Toyota, Hiring Our Heroes, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“I would like to thank all the veterans and all the family members that are continuing to serve selflessly. It means a lot being here today to represent all the veterans around the world and those still serving,” he said.
Ceja also thanked the airmen that he served with at Nellis Air Force Base.
“I also want to thank all my peers and leadership from when I was on active duty Air Force at ophthalmology clinics both downrange and in garrison,” he said. “I would also like to thank the Nevada Air National Guard for giving me the opportunities and supporting me and my family in a time of need and helping me transition from active duty to a part-time military force.”
Ceja acknowledged his daughters saying that they “push me to be the best that I can be.”
Providing a new vehicle to a deserving veteran was made possible through a long-standing partnership between Hiring Our Heroes and Toyota, explained Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes and vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“When I think about what this means, giving away a car like this, it’s not just about a car giveaway. When we give away these new Toyota vehicles, it’s really about creating opportunity for service members and their family members,” Eversole said.
This is the fourth time Hiring Our Heroes has given a new Toyota to a veteran.
“Every year, I’ve been really excited to see not only the dealerships and the partnerships that we’ve been able to build, but also how we’ve been able to impact the lives of our service members and their families,” Eversole said.
Thanks to this new Toyota, Ceja is planning to work toward earning his MBA degree.
“If you do not have to worry about car payments, it’s going to allow you to pursue great things. I heard that today from Adlai. This vehicle cements the idea that he can now afford to get his MBA and create the opportunities that are going to make him better and quite honestly, he’s going to make the business community better because of his continued service,” Eversole said.