Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Local family doesn’t win contest, still gets new ride

Although Emily Brown did not win the National Mobility Awareness Month contest, she remained a winner due to the generosity of one gentleman.
Kim, Emily’s mother, said according to her calculation, Emily received 61,800 votes, putting her in the semifinalist category as the fifth-place winner.
She said there were 141 semifinalists.
“We really appreciate everybody that stood behind us and backed Emily,” Kim said. “I’m very appreciative of everybody. It was a fun ride.”
Individuals had the opportunity to vote for Emily from March 11 through May 9 to help her win a mobility van, which would make transportation easier for the duo.
“To know that she had a lot of support . . . that meant a lot that people actually cared to take time to vote every day,” Kim said.
When the Browns found out they did not win the van, Kim’s sister, Debbie Ward, posted the news on Team Emily Brown’s Facebook page.
“Twenty minutes later, we found out that we did win,” she said. “The man who donated the billboards, he gifted Emily a brand new van.”
GGS Information Services CEO and President Paul Kilker donated two billboards to help generate more votes for the Brown family throughout the contest.
Amanda Yiengst, GGS information services marketing specialist, said after Kilker heard about the contest, he and his wife wanted to lend a helping hand.
“They are extremely kind, compassionate and generous,” Yiengst said.
“This is just one example of how we strive to become involved in the community whether near or far.”
She said they helped Team Emily Brown gain votes in the York, Pa., area, the company’s headquarters, as well as in Jonesborough, Johnson City and India.
“We ran two billboards. They were digital images re-circulated throughout the day,” Yiengst said in the Jonesborough area.
“I worked with a gentleman down there, but it was through emails and phone calls. I picked out a location on the map.”
She said they were a week late getting started helping the Brown family with the contest because they were not aware of the story at its beginning, yet they were still very pleased with the results.
“Although she did finish in fifth place, she almost received 62,000 votes, which is pretty phenomenal,” Yiengst said.
“She was the only female in the top five. It was left up to the judging panel. Unfortunately, things did not play out as we hoped.”
After the contest was over, Emily, Kim, Ward and Yiengst, decided to go to one of Emily’s favorite destinations, Dollywood, on May 30 to take their minds off the contest.
When they arrived, Kim was given a sealed envelope by Yiengst.
“Amanda said ‘I was told to give Emily this sealed envelope and I was told to take video or photographs,’” Kim said, adding that she had no idea what it entailed.
Yiengst said she had two cards with her, one for Ward, Emily and Kim to take a trip to Hilton Head, and the other was to Emily and Kim.
“We were so excited,” Kim said about their gift of a week’s stay in Hilton Head.
The excitement continued when Kim read the letter from Kilker that stated, “Emily winning comes in many ways, so on behalf of all our employees around the world, (you) won a brand new mobility van.”
“We were blessed. We were all crying,” she said. “We are kind of still in shock.”
Yiengst said she was very touched as she watched the excitement unfold in front of her as the family found out they would be receiving a van after all.
“It was very moving and pretty overwhelming,” she said.
Kim said once they receive the van, she will probably have no idea how to act. She said as of right now, it takes about 15 minutes to get everything together, as well as put Emily in her car seat.
Yiengst said although it has yet to be determined when the Browns will receive their van, the ball is definitely rolling.
Emily, 19, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a young girl.
She was born 4 pounds, 6 ounces on June 5, a month and a half early.
Although the doctors told Emily’s mother that tests had shown shadows on her daughter’s brain, it was not until Emily turned 5 months old that she knew something was wrong.
When Emily was not sitting up and crying constantly, Kim took her to a doctor in Kingsport who diagnosed her with cerebral palsy.
At 6 months old, Emily received her first pair of glasses, and began using her first wheelchair, which is now referred to as her “hot rod,” when she was 2 years old.
Over the years, she has gone through seven hot rods as she has grown.