Press Releases

America's Top Three Hometown Heroes Named In National Search For Everyday Heroes






Heroes to be Honored at First-Ever


Volvo for Life Awards Ceremony April 16 in Times Square


Awards presented by Hank Aaron, Bill Bradley, Dr. Jane Goodall,


Maya Lin, Dr. Sally Ride and Eunice Kennedy Shriver;


Music by Wallflowers, Los Lobos and Heather Headley;


Hosted by Jim Belushi

NEW YORK CITY (April 9, 2003) - An advocate for domestic abuse survivors, a supporter of Hmong refugee women seeking jobs, and a champion for Native Americans seeking adequate housing have been selected as the nation's three top hometown heroes in the first-ever Volvo for Life Awards.


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


The winners will be honored Wed., April 16, 2003 in New York City at the 2003 Volvo for Life Awards Ceremony. They are:

  • Pamela Stack, 48, Miami, Fla., a domestic abuse survivor who is Miami's leading advocate against family violence.
  • Bao Xiong, 37, Wausau, Wis., a mother of six who volunteers her time to provide job placement and skills assistance to Hmong refugee women in Wausau.
  • Robert Young, 41, Bellevue, Wash., who has dedicated his life to helping impoverished Native Americans build adequate housing out of straw bales.
  • (Detailed bios at the conclusion of the news release.)


Held in Times Square Studios, Ltd., the event will be hosted by Jim Belushi, feature music performances by The Wallflowers, Los Lobos and Heather Headley, and include awards presentations by program judges Hank Aaron, Bill Bradley, Dr. Jane Goodall, Maya Lin, Dr. Sally Ride and Eunice Kennedy Shriver.


Launched December 2002, the Volvo for Life Awards called for individuals nationwide to nominate a hometown hero they know at In three months, Volvo received 2,036 nominations representing all 50 states.


In March, the distinguished panel of judges - Aaron, Bradley, Goodall, Lin, Ride, Shriver, Caroline Kennedy and Paul Newman - selected the winners.


At the ceremony, Volvo and the judges will present the three winning heroes, and Volvo will make a $50,000 donation to the charity of each winner's choice. In addition, they will announce the program's top winner, who will receive a Volvo car for the rest of his or her life.


"Our distinguished judges have selected three powerful individuals as winners. Their heroic accomplishments should serve as an inspiration to everyone," said Vic Doolan, president and chief executive officer for Volvo Cars of North America. "Countless immigrants in need, abuse survivors seeking support and Native Americans have all been tremendously impacted by Pamela, Bao and Robert's efforts. It's an honor for us to honor them for the conscience, care and character that so clearly makes them heroes."


The 2003 Volvo for Life Awards will be held Wed., April 16, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Times Square Studios, Ltd., 44th and Broadway, New York. For more information on the Volvo for Life Awards and to view stories of hundreds of this year's nominees, including the three winners, visit


2003 Volvo for Life Awards Winners

  • Pamela Stack, 46, Miami, Fla. A domestic-abuse survivor, Stack was stabbed multiple times, beaten and strangled by her estranged husband on Christmas Day 1990. Over the past 13 years, Stack has become Miami's leading advocate against family violence, volunteering to help hundreds of women and children leave abusive relationships or deal with the aftermath of abuse by taking them into her own home or helping them relocate to different states or countries. She co-founded the "Save-A-Life Campaign," which includes a cell-phone donation program that arms people in abusive relationships, the elderly and disabled people with phones that automatically dial 911, and a student-education program on teen violence and date rape. Stack is the author and presenter of 10 training programs including, "Don't Die For Love, From Victim to Victory" and "Domestic Violence in the Workplace."
  • Bao Xiong, 37, Wausau, Wis. Years ago, as a refugee from Laos with no formal education, Xiong discovered that many Hmong women in Wausau's 4,000-member Hmong community wanted to help support their families by working outside their homes. However, their limited English-speaking skills and the unspoken rules of patriarchal Hmong relationships kept them from working. Xiong quickly learned English so she could be a translator for Hmong women seeking jobs, and got a childcare license so she could care for children of Hmong women who were working or taking English classes. Today, Xiong, a mother of six, is the unofficial social worker for Hmong women in Wausau, helping more than 30 Hmong women obtain and retain jobs, mentoring Hmong women starting daycare businesses, caring for Hmong children, and bridging the cultural gap between Hmong and American residents in countless other ways.
  • Robert Young, 41, Bellevue, Wash. Young is the executive director of Red Feather Development Group, which is dedicated to helping hundreds of thousands of Native Americans experiencing a housing crisis. Of the millions of Native Americans living on reservations, more than 300,000 are homeless. Many more live together -- in groups of up to 20 people in some cases -- in dilapidated shacks and uninsulated trailers. And, every winter, native elders freeze to death in their homes. Young and his volunteers teach reservation residents how to build homes out of a sustainable, abundant resource: straw bales. Young has partnered with the University of Washington and Penn State University to design a model that is three times more energy efficient than a typical home. With Young's help, some families save enough in monthly heating costs alone to pay the majority of a home mortgage. More importantly, they are finding a lasting solution to a problem that has plagued their community for decades.




Contact: Media must RSVP to attend the 2003 Volvo for Life Awards

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

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

Photo: For photos and more information on the Volvo for Life Awards:

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