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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. (September 7, 2006) – Five extraordinary, everyday heroes from Virginia have been named semi-finalists in the 5th Annual Volvo for life Awards. Volvo is calling on the citizens of Virginia 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 Virginia would you give a Volvo to? Representing Virginia in this year’s Volvo for life Awards are:

  • Robert Bobulinski, of Virginia Beach, started the Making a Difference Foundation (MADF) in 1991 and today serves as its executive director. MADF is a non-profit organization dedicated to the cultural, educational, economic and social enrichment of underprivileged youth. Over the last twelve years, he has helped 38,000 youth through the foundation.
  • P. Caitlyn Day, of Newcastle, has brought her small community in the mountains of Virginia the gift of reading. Day began the project in 2001, at the age of 15. Since then, she has collected more than 10,000 books for the facility. In addition, Day helped acquire the building for the library, raised money through the nonprofit organization the Craig County Friends of the Library and worked with volunteers to organize books as they are collected.
  • Thelma Harrison, of Norfolk, volunteers in one of Norfolk’s poorest inner city neighborhoods, through a grassroots program called “Mama I want to Read”. The program helps three to four year-old children acquire the pre-reading skills necessary to be successful upon entering Kindergarten. Although she considers Mama, I Want to Read her job, she is its unpaid director and founder.
  • David Herring, of Richmond, joined with friends to start The Alliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods (A.C.O.R.N.), an organization formed to teach people of all income levels how to identify, finance and renovate older properties. This project aims to make home ownership a reality for more people, increasing the vitality of Richmond and preserving its character as one of the most historic cities in the United States. Now the director of properties and programs, he spends 50 or more hours per week working to fulfill the project’s mission.
  • Barbara Mason, of Alexandria, has worked to create programs beyond preschool services for the poor and underserved. Mason’s programs include family support services, health services and job training. In addition to her work with the Child and Family Network Center (CFNC), Mason serves with numerous outreach organizations, including: Alexandria’s Special Education and Preschool Intervention Project Advisory Boards, Virginia Preschool Initiative Planning Committee, Community Health Coalition, Economic Opportunities and several others.


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, Sept. 18 – Sept. 24, the five Virginia heroes’ stories will be featured on the front page of the Web site, joining five heroes from Florida. 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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Alex Seitz,

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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