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National vote underway for all-time greatest heroes – five per state -


in 5th Anniversary Volvo for life Awards


Vote for top heroes at; $1 million in financial contributions provided; winner receives Volvo car for life


IRVINE, Calif. (August 24, 2006) – Five extraordinary, everyday heroes from New Jersey have been named semi-finalists in the 5th Annual Volvo for life Awards. Volvo is calling on the citizens of New Jersey and people coast-to-coast to visit now through Feb. 4, 2007 to view the 250 semi-finalist stories – five per state – and vote for the individual they feel is “America’s Greatest Hometown Hero.” The overall grand winner will receive a $50,000 charitable contribution and a new Volvo every three years for the rest of his or her life.


Who in New Jersey would you give a Volvo to? Representing New Jersey in this year’s Volvo for life Awards are:

  • In the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, where as many as one million people were slaughtered within three months, Rosamond Carr, of South Orange, opened an orphanage to care for the youngest victims of the genocide. The Imbabazi Orphanage located in the small lake town of Gisenyi is currently home to 124 children.
  • Sgt. De Lacy Davis, of East Orange, founded Black Cops Against Police Brutality, Inc., in 1991 to advocate for citizens who are victimized by the police. He then used his advocacy and lobbying skills to become the director of the East Orange Police Department's Police Athletic League (PAL). During this time juvenile crime in East Orange has dropped by 33 percent over three and a half years. Enrollment has increased from 150 children to 1,750.
  • Freddie Hoffman, of River Edge, is a learning disabled man who rides his bike across the country every summer to raise money for the Leukemia Society. His mother and 19 of his maternal relatives died of the disease. To date, Hoffman has raised over $500,000 by himself and has logged more than one million miles.
  • Timothy Leffens, of Belle Meade, created A.R.T., a program that enables children with the most severe physical challenges to master painting, sculpture, music and photography. The initiative provides revolutionary tools and technologies to help severely challenged children shatter the misperceptions that hold them back in everyday life.
  • Christina and Michael Pesci, of Parsippany, founded two successful non-profit organizations. Christina, 13, serves as president of Bridging the Generation Gap. The project brings together senior citizens and teenagers for monthly get-togethers, encouraging kindness, cooperation, and understanding between the generations. It raises awareness and helps teenagers understand more about how aging links us all. Michael, 16, runs an organization that, over the past five years, has raised more than $100,000 for disabled children and young adults.


Now through Feb. 4, individuals will be able to view these and other hero stories and vote for their top heroes at From now until Aug. 27, the five New Jersey heroes’ stories will be featured on the front page of the Web site, joining five heroes from Washington. Each week during the voting period, heroes from two states will be featured heroes on the front of the Web site, though individuals can view and vote on their state or any other state’s hero stories within the site at any time.


Once the public vote concludes, the top three vote getters in the categories of safety, quality of life and environment will be named finalists. Then, a panel of distinguished judges – including Hank Aaron, Sen. Bill Bradley, Caroline Kennedy, Maya Lin, Paul Newman, Dr. Sally Ride, Val Kilmer, Eunice Kennedy Shriver and previous Volvo for life Awards top winners – will select winners in each category. Winners receive a $50,000 charitable contribution from Volvo; remaining finalists receive a $25,000 contribution.


On April 4, 2007, Volvo will fly the winning heroes to New York, where Volvo and members of the celebrity-judging panel will honor them at the 5th Annual Volvo for life Awards Ceremony. At the climax of the ceremony, Volvo will reveal which of the three top heroes is also the Grand Award winner of a Volvo vehicle every three years for the rest of his or her life.


“Over the past five years the Volvo for life Awards initiative has received more than 15,000 hero nominations,” said Anne Bélec, president and chief executive officer of Volvo Cars of North America. “All of these heroes demonstrate incredible conscience, care and character. We felt the proper way to mark the fifth year of the Volvo for life Awards would be to highlight the top five heroes from every state in America. Having the public help us select the winning heroes is a truly exciting – and democratic – addition to this year’s program. We look forward to discovering just who ‘America’s greatest hometown hero’ will be.”


To learn more, or to vote for your favorite hero, visit A Spanish version of the site can also be accessed at this address.


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Kim McMartin,

Haberman & Associates,



Sören Johansson,

Volvo Cars of North America,




For photos and more information on the Volvo for life Awards visit

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