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Volvo Announces The 10 Everyday Hero Finalists For The 2003 Volvo For Life Awards



Each Finalist Receives $10,000; Eight Celebrity Judges Will Select and Announce Winners at April 16 Volvo for Life Awards Ceremony in Times Square; One Hero Will Receive a Volvo Car for Life

NEW YORK CITY (March 19, 2003) - A seven-year-old Pennsylvania girl with cancer who sold lemonade to raise thousands of dollars for cancer-related causes and a retired Iowa professor who helps run a mall with stores owned and operated by disabled people are among the 10 finalists named today in the 2003 Volvo for Life Awards.

In its inaugural year, the Volvo for Life Awards is the largest-ever national search and celebration of everyday heroes, with Volvo Cars of North America providing more than $1 million in awards and contributions.

The program, launched December 2002, called for individuals nationwide to nominate a hometown hero they know at Volvo received 2,036 nominations over three months representing all 50 states.

Volvo will give $10,000 to each finalist. A distinguished panel of judges - Hank Aaron, Bill Bradley, Dr. Jane Goodall, Caroline Kennedy, Maya Lin, Paul Newman, Dr. Sally Ride and Eunice Kennedy Shriver - will now review the finalists' nominations to select the program's top three winners.

Volvo will then make a $50,000 contribution to a charity of each of the three winner's choice and will fly them to New York City April 16 to be honored in Times Square at the first-ever Volvo for Life Awards Ceremony. At the ceremony, Volvo and the program judges will present the winners and announce the program's top winner, who will receive a Volvo car for the rest of his or her life.

The finalists are:

  • Shelly Cofield, Brooklyn, N.Y., founder of "The Mommy Place," which mentors and supports girls whose mothers have died.
  • Laurie Dooley, East Amherst, N.Y., who after losing her best friend to breast cancer created a boat-racing team of 45 breast cancer survivors.
  • Thelma Harrison, Norfolk, Va., an 88-year-old woman who co-created the "Mama I Want to Read" tutoring program for inner city pre-schoolers.
  • Sandy Irle, Warrensberg, Mo., a homemaker who organized 800 volunteers to restore a city park built for African Americans during the segregation era.
  • David Mehnert, Malibu, Calif., who has helped free a mentally handicapped boy trapped in a sightless world by providing piano lessons.
  • Alexandra Scott, Wynnewood, Pa., a seven-year-old with cancer who has for three years sold lemonade to raise money for cancer research.
  • Pamela Stack, Miami, Fla., a former victim of domestic abuse who is Miami's leading advocate against family violence.
  • Tom Walz, Iowa City, Iowa, who has helped create a collection of businesses owned and operated by people with disabilities.
  • Bao Xiong, Wausau, Wis., who volunteers to provide job placement and skills assistance to area Hmong refugee women.
  • Robert Young, Bellevue, Wash., who has dedicated his life to helping Native Americans find adequate housing.

"We're thrilled to have received 2,036 hero nominations in the first year of the Volvo for Life Awards," said Vic Doolan, president and chief executive officer for Volvo Cars of North America. "Each nominee is an inspiring and compelling person who in his or her unique way has dramatically improved a person's life or brought change to a community. We applaud everyone's efforts, and we now anxiously await to see who our distinguished panel of judges will select as the top three heroes at our awards ceremony next month in New York."

The 2003 Volvo for Life Awards will be hosted by actor Jim Belushi and will feature music performances by the Wallflowers, Los Lobos and Heather Headley. For more information on the Volvo for Life Awards and to view stories of several of this year's nominees, including the 10 finalists, visit


Eric Davis, Haberman & Associates, 612-338-3900,

Sören Johansson, Volvo Cars of North America, 949-341-6719,



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