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Volvo Names National Farm Safety Organization Founder, Marilyn Adams, America's Greatest Hometown Hero

Volvo Names National Farm Safety Organization Founder, Marilyn Adams, America's Greatest Hometown Hero


Earlham, Iowa resident honored for her many years of work to promote farm safety to reduce farm-related accidents and deaths


Adams presented with $100,000 and a Volvo car for life at New York Awards Gala


IRVINE, Calif. (March 20, 2008) - Volvo announced last evening at the sixth annual Volvo for life Awards ceremony that Marilyn Adams, a pioneer in promoting farm safety, has been named "America's Greatest Hometown Hero" - the top award given through the largest-ever national search for and celebration of everyday heroes.


More than 20 years ago, Adams, 57, faced every mother's greatest fear. Her 11-year-old son, Keith, suffocated in a gravity flow wagon while helping with the first full day of harvest on the family's farm in Iowa. Determined to find a constructive outlet for her grief, she was inspired to create a nonprofit organization working to educate children about farm safety and health. In 1987, Adams founded Farm Safety 4 Just Kids and set out on a mission to promote safe farm environments and eliminate farm-related child health hazards, injuries and fatalities. Today, as a result of her work, thousands of volunteers across the United States and Canada help to keep rural kids safe and healthy.


Adams received a $100,000 charitable contribution and a new Volvo every three years for the rest of her life in recognition of her accomplishments. Since the inception of the program in 2002, Volvo has awarded millions of dollars in contributions to support the work of everyday heroes.


"We are humbled and honored to have learned about all of the 6th Annual Volvo for life Awards heroes who embody the values of conscience, care and character this program celebrates," said Anne Bélec, president and chief executive officer for Volvo Cars of North America. "Marilyn Adams' determination to keep kids safe on farms makes her a true hero, setting an example we can all strive for. We wish to congratulate all of our nominees, and truly appreciate the task our judges faced in selecting a winner from a phenomenal pool of heroes."


Last night's Volvo for life Awards ceremony was the climax of the 6th Annual Volvo for life Awards. In November, Volvo selected the top 40 heroes in America and asked the public to visit the Volvo for life Awards Web site and vote for their favorite unsung hometown hero. Volvo received hundreds of thousands of votes from across the country.


A panel of distinguished judges- including Hank Aaron, Sen. Bill Bradley, Maya Lin, Dr. Sally Ride, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Dr. Mae Jemison and Edsel B. Ford II - selected the program's top three winners in the categories of Safety, Quality of Life and Environment. Adams was the Safety category winner.


More About Marilyn Adams

A report by the National Safety Council found that children between the ages of five and 14 were 66 percent more likely to be injured in a farm accident than adults aged 45 to 64. Farm Safety 4 Just Kids' contribution to the farm safety movement has helped to reduce the number of agriculture-related fatalities among children in the United States. Farm families now have additional programs and educational materials highlighting the dangers that children can encounter on farms, and information about how to avoid them. Farm Safety 4 Just Kids now has 137 chapters throughout North America. Through her visits to rural schools, media appearances, testimony before government agencies and in Congress, Adams has spread her farm safety message across the country.


About the Volvo for life Awards Ceremony

Hosted by Jay Sanders, the Volvo for life Awards ceremony was attended by more than 500 media, entertainment and other executives at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York, and featured music performances by Ziggy Marley. During the ceremony, Volvo also named 10-year-old Zach Bonner of Valrico, Fla., the winner of the Alexandra Scott Butterfly Award and presented him with $25,000 for a charity of his choice.

Volvo for life Awards judges recognized Adams and the other category winners for quality of life and environment, who also each received a $100,000 charitable contribution:


Quality of Life: Matthew Sanford of Orono, Minn.

Matthew  Sanford, 42, was involved in a car crash that took the lives of his father and sister, and left him paralyzed from the chest down. Now, he is a nationally recognized yoga teacher, author and renowned expert in mind-body integration who has inspired and enhanced the lives of thousands. In 2001, Sanford founded Mind Body Solutions, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the simple and practical notion that minds and bodies work better together. Sanford's group offers programs in the workplace, in corporations, at the yoga studio and in the community at large.


Environment: Lorraine Kerwood of Eugene, Ore.

Lorraine Kerwood, 47, established NextStep Recycling. The organization has recycled more than 800 tons of electronic waste and placed 11,000 computers in disadvantaged communities in the United States and abroad. More than 500 computers have been shipped to rural Guatemalan schools, orphanages and non-governmental organizations.


More About the Butterfly Award

The award was created by Volvo Cars of North America to honor young heroes who do the extraordinary in the areas of Safety, Quality of Life and Environment. The award was created in the name of Alexandra Scott, a Volvo for life Awards winner from Wynnewood, Pa., who passed away at age eight from cancer. She raised more than $1 million for pediatric cancer research through lemonade sales and other fundraising activities. Parents Jay and Elizabeth Scott continue promoting Alex's cause and raising money for pediatric cancer research through their foundation, Alex's Lemonade Stand.


This year, Volvo elevated the annual Butterfly Award to its own youth hero category - with a $25,000 prize for the winner and $10,000 to two runners-up.


Zach Bonner, the winner of the award, founded the Little Red Wagon Foundation, Inc., an organization that collects and donates backpacks filled with food and school items to disadvantaged children nationwide. In late 2007, Bonner completed a marathon walk from Tampa to Tallahassee, Fla. covering - 280 miles over 23 days, raising money and awareness for homeless children along the way.


The six remaining finalists in the Safety, Quality of Life and Environment categories will receive a donation of $25,000 to the charities of their choice. The two remaining Butterfly Award finalists will receive a $10,000 donation for the charity of their choice. The remaining finalists are:



  • Ronald Dundon, 58, of Kalamazoo, Mich.,founded the AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) Fund of Kalamazoo County to help increase the chances of survival for future sudden cardiac arrest victims in underserved communities.
  • Through his program "Driver's Edge," Las Vegas-native Jeff Payne, 40, teaches thousands of youth how to avoid vehicle accidents and drive safely.


Quality of Life:

  • John Dau, 35, of Syracuse, N.Y., has raised $700,000 to improve healthcare and literacy in southern Sudan.
  • Darius Weems, 18, of Athens, Ga., works to raise money and awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) research through "Darius Goes West," a documentary that chronicles his courageous journey across America.




  • Zander Srodes, 17, of Cape Haze, Fla., has educated more than 5,000 students about sea turtle conservation through a series of educational presentations called "Turtle Talks" which he developed along with a children's activity book on the subject.
  • Charles Turner, 48, of Sedley, Va., founded the Blackwater-Nottoway Riverkeeper Program, which mobilizes individuals to patrol rivers to look for signs of pollution, and educate others about the importance of clean, wild waterways.


Butterfly Award:

  • Rocco Fiorentino, 11, of Voorhees, N.J., has been blind since birth and works with the Little Rock Foundation, a nonprofit organization established by his family to provide resources for children, parents, therapists, and educators who are facing issues related to blindness.
  • Dallas Jessup, 16, of Vancouver, Wash., wrote and produced "Just Yell Fire," a film for women of all ages illustrating simple self-defense strategies to defend against an attack, kidnapping or sexual assault.


For more information on the Volvo for life Awards and to view this year's nominees' and finalists' stories, visit




Contact:          Kim McMartin, Haberman & Associates, 612-372-6464,


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