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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 15, 2006) – Five extraordinary, everyday heroes from Washington state have been named semi-finalists in the 5th Annual Volvo for life Awards. Volvo is calling on the citizens of Washington 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 Washington would you give a Volvo to? Representing Washington in this year’s Volvo for life Awards are:

  • Phyllis Anderson organized a group of women in Spokane called the Hermanas (Sisters) that helps women in Huizisilapa, El Salvador build a sustainable and prosperous community, educate their youth and address health and safety issues.
  • Blaise Judja-Sato, of Seattle, who founded and leads VillageReach, a nonprofit organization that serves to help developing nations, Mozambique in particular, deliver vaccines and medications to their most remote rural communities.
  • Laura Lisowski, a Sammamish teen who founded Musical Angels, which organizes volunteer youth musicians to provide music therapy to sick children and to raise funds for pediatric primary care and research at Children's Hospitals all across America
  • Fred Mednick, of Mercer Island, who founded Teachers Without Borders, a volunteer network of more than 5,000 teachers in 84 countries who help one another build innovative, responsive educational systems in the communities most in need.
  • Mike Youngquist, who with his wife Jeanne in Burlington founded and operate The Berry Good School to provide farm workers' children with a bi-lingual day care center and pre-school.


Now through Feb. 4, individuals will be able to view these and other hero stories and vote for their top heroes at For one week only, August 21 – 27, the five Washington heroes’ stories will be featured on the front page of the Web site, joining five heroes from New Jersey. 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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Peggy Bell,

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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