January 18, 2019


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative and Toyota Motor North America presented U.S. Army Veteran, Captain (Ret.) James O. Salanitro, with a 2019 Toyota Tacoma during a ceremony today at Rick Hendrick Toyota in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The ceremony included the Salanitro family, as well as representatives from Toyota and Hiring Our Heroes. Captain Salanitro was presented the Toyota Tacoma as a result of his winning entry into the first annual Toyota ‘Committed to Veterans’ Sweepstakes conducted late last year.

“From the very beginning, Toyota’s support for Hiring Our Heroes has been instrumental to our ability to carry out our mission to connect transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses with economic opportunity,” said Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes and vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “As a medic and radiologist, Captain Salanitro spent his career caring for others, we hope this new Tacoma takes care of you and your family--thank you for your service to our country.”

“Congratulations to the Salanitro family and thank you to Captain Salanitro for your service,” said Erin Gilhuly, engagement marketing planner for Toyota. “Toyota’s long-standing partnership with Hiring Our Heroes aims to reduce the challenges our veterans and their families face during military transition and provides employment opportunity resources to veterans and military spouses.”

The Toyota ‘Committed To Veterans’ Sweepstakes was open to all active duty service members, veterans and military spouses at and received over 20,000 entries from August 2018 through October 2018. Toyota has supported Hiring Our Heroes’ efforts to connect veterans and military spouses with meaningful employment opportunities since the initiative’s founding in 2011.

Captain Salanitro currently resides in Hope Mills, N.C., along with his wife and two children, where he is an instructor of military science at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

“Wow. This is pretty much a dream come true. When you go online and register for these things you never expect you are going to win,” said Captain Salanitro upon receiving the vehicle. “This is an amazing moment. Thank you to Hiring Our Heroes and Toyota for all you do for veterans and their families.”

Toyota has been a part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. and North America for 60 years, and is committed to advancing the mobility of the military community as it enters the civilian workforce. Since 2011 Toyota has partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes on the Personal Branding Initiative to address the issue of unemployment among veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses by helping more than 100,000 job seekers translate their military skills, volunteer experiences and expertise into meaningful employment. Through the development of first-of-their-kind, free online personal branding tools – for veterans and transitioning service members and for military spouses – Toyota continues to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to help the military community successfully integrate into the American workforce.

Launched in 2011, the Veteran Employment Advisory Council brings together over 40 of America’s largest employers, public-private agencies, and military and veteran service organizations committed to hiring veterans and military spouses, establishing best practice for veteran employment, reporting measures around efforts to hire and retain veterans, providing mentorship opportunities to transitioning service members and spouses, and encouraging small and medium-sized businesses to join in their efforts.

Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment. Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vast network of state and local chambers and other strategic partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Hiring Our Heroes has helped hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment through more than 1,100 job fairs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and on military installations overseas; a suite of free online career-based resources; and the Hiring 500,000 Heroes campaign.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.