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Five Vermont heroes named semi-finalists in the 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 15, 2006) – Who would you give a Volvo to? How about Gert Lepine, of Morrisville, who has helped preserve more than 1,000 acres to ensure future generations will enjoy Vermont’s natural landscape? Or Shaftsbury’s Elizabeth Putnam who founded the Student Conservation Association to provide the National Park Service with student volunteers for almost 50 years? Or Sarah Jackson, of Shoreham, who was involved in a serious accident caused by an underage drunk driver and now devotes much of her time teaching other students about the dangers of alcohol consumption through the Vermont Teen Leadership Safety Program?


These are just three of the five extraordinary Vermont heroes named as semi-finalists in the 5th Anniversary Volvo for life Awards – Volvo’s annual search for hometown heroes across America. This year, in honor of the Awards’ 5th anniversary, Volvo selected the top five heroes from every state in America and is asking the American public to visit to vote for their favorites now through February 4, 2007.


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

  • Sarah Jackson, of Shoreham, was almost killed when the car she was in, driven by an underage drunk driver, crashed. In addition to fighting her way back from serious brain injury, she has worked with many organizations to combat the problems of underage drinking, drug abuse and driving under the influence. Through the Vermont Teen Leadership Safety Program, Jackson speaks to students across the state and beyond, delivering her powerful messages about the dangers of substance abuse and unsafe driving.
  • Indira Kajosevik, of Rutland, founded the Reconciliation and Cultural Cooperative Network, an organization dedicated to conflict resolution among the war refugees of the Balkans. Each of the four main ethnic communities - Serbians, Croatians, Bosnian Muslims and Montenegrins – suffered countless horrors during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Her organization’s goal is to help heals the wounds of the wars and unify the refugees.
  • Gert Lepine, from Morrisville, passed up lucrative offers for her land when she retired from farming her 667 acres in the shadows of the Green Mountains. Instead, she sold her land to the Vermont Land Trust, so that it would be preserved and enjoyed by future generations. She volunteers her time to convince others to donate land or money to preserve additional acreage and has succeeded in securing more than 1,000 acres for preservation.
  • Elizabeth Putnam, from Shaftsbury, is the founder of the Student Conservation Association (SCA). The SCA is a nationwide conservation force of college and high school volunteers who work to protect and restore America’s parks, forests and other public lands. Over 45,000 young men and women have had the opportunity to participate over the organizations 50-year history. SCA volunteers perform over 1.6 million hours of service annually, working with government agencies such as the National Park Service, environmental groups and conscientious corporations.
  • William Wolfe, of Chittenden, has focused his efforts on helping children in need of medical assistance from poor areas of Central and South America. He helps to coordinate doctors, passports and travel to provide vital medical assistance such as prosthetics, spinal fusions and treatment for blindness.


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. Having the public help us select the winning heroes is a truly exciting – and democratic – addition to this year’s program.”


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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