Press Releases

Volvo Names America's Nine Top Hometown Heroes






Finalists Announced in Second Annual Volvo for Life Awards; Celebrity Judges to Name Winners at April 7 Volvo for Life Awards Ceremony in Times Square;


One Hero Will Receive a Volvo Car for Life

NEW YORK CITY (March 23, 2004) - A Louisiana chemist who teaches residents of rural communities how to peacefully resolve environmental disputes with large companies, a Georgia nurse who provides foster care for children with severe disabilities who have been abandoned by their families, and a former Los Angeles gang member who devotes his life to keeping kids safe, are among the nine finalists named today in the second annual Volvo for Life Awards.


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 program, launched in September 2003, called for individuals nationwide to visit and nominate an unsung hometown hero they know. Volvo received 2,768 nominations representing all 50 states.


A distinguished panel of judges –– including Hank Aaron, Paul Newman, Caroline Kennedy, Maya Lin, Bill Bradley, Dr. Sally Ride and Eunice Kennedy Shriver –– will now review the finalists’ nominations to select the program’s top three winners in the categories of safety, environment and quality of life.


Volvo will fly the three winners to New York to be honored at Times Square Studios Ltd. at the Volvo for Life Awards Ceremony on April 7, 2004. At the event, Volvo and the program judges will present each winner with a $50,000 contribution to a charity of his/her choice. In addition, they will announce the program’s grand winner, who will receive a Volvo car for the rest of his or her life and the distinction of “America’s Greatest Hometown Hero.” The six remaining finalists each will receive a donation of $10,000 to the charities of their choice.


Second Annual Volvo for Life Awards Finalists:

  • Rosamond Carr, 91, Gisenyi, Rwanda, a native of New Jersey living in Rwanda who for the past 10 years has overseen an orphanage for more than 100 children whose parents died in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
  • Juan Jimenez, 61, Los Angeles, a former gang member and victim of multiple illnesses who volunteers his time to ensure kids in his community avoid drugs and gangs.
  • Laura Moore, 42, Lilburn, Ga., a pediatric nurse who developed a program that provides transitional foster care for children with severe disabilities who are abandoned by their families.
  • Veronique Moore, 48, Kalamazoo, Mich., a popular radio host turned homeless woman who now serves as the program director for the shelter that helped save her life.
  • Ritu Primlani, 30, Oakland, Calif., who has taught almost 50 ethnic restaurant owners without fluent English-speaking skills and environmental knowledge how to run "green" enterprises.
  • John Rugge, 59, Glens Falls, N.Y., who created a network of 11 health care centers near the Adirondacks that treat residents who have little or no health insurance and charge fees based on a patient’s ability to pay.
  • Ernestine Russell, 54, Bronx, N.Y., who 20 years ago founded a youth center that has improved the lives of more than 3,000 children in a crime-ridden area of northeast Bronx.
  • Kristen Stryker, 18, Canton, Ohio, who created a gardening project that teaches inmates in 12 state youth correctional facilities the value of growing food for the hungry.
  • Wilma Subra, 60, New Iberia, La., a chemist who has helped residents of more than 500 rural communities peacefully resolve environmental disputes with large companies — without costly legal intervention.


“We’re thrilled to have received more than 2,700 hero nominations, and it’s been an incredibly daunting task selecting these finalists,” 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 our top three heroes.”


The second annual Volvo for Life Awards will be hosted by actor Jim Belushi and will feature musical performances by Toots and the Maytals, Joss Stone and Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts. For more information on the Volvo for Life Awards and to view stories of dozens of this year’s nominees, including the nine finalists, visit



Claudine Galloway, Haberman & Associates, 612-338-3900,

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



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