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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. (October 2, 2006) – Who would you give a Volvo to? How about Dan Johnson, a high school principal from Logan, who started a Hispanic Parent Night at his school to get Hispanic parents involved in their children’s education and instill hope for the future? Or 15-year-old Becca Robison, from Layton, who started Astrotots – now a national free space camp program for girls ages four to ten that will go worldwide this year? Or Dr. Geoffrey Tabin from Salt Lake City whose efforts to eliminate preventable and curable blindness in the Himalayan Region stretch back over a decade and have helped tens of thousands of people?


These are just three of the five extraordinary Utah 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 Utah would you give a Volvo to? Representing Utah in this year’s Volvo for life Awards are:

  • Dan Johnson, principal at Mount Logan Middle School, started a Hispanic Parent Night when he realized that language and cultural barriers were preventing parents of his Hispanic students from participating in their children’s education. Through countless dedicated hours, Johnson has helped parents get informed about, and involved in, their children’s future. The Hispanic Parent Night has had a remarkable impact – now Hispanic parents can track their children’s progress, fully participate in the direction of their education and see a real way to help them achieve their dreams.
  • Becca Robison, a 15-year-old budding astronaut from Layton, has given thousands of young girls a fun introduction to science through her Astrotots space camps. Robison started Astrotots in her backyard in 2002 to share her passion for science with girls ages four to ten – and ultimately ignite other young girls’ interest enough to lead them on a path to careers in science. Now Astrotots is in community centers across the country, with plans to take the camps to Europe and India by the end of the year.
  • Dr. Geoffrey Tabin from Salt Lake City has helped alleviate the suffering of tens of thousands of people through his Himalayan Cataract Project. The project strives to eradicate preventable and curable blindness in the Himalaya – a region with one of the world’s highest rates of cataracts, the leading cause of blindness worldwide. With high-quality ophthalmic care, education, and establishment of a sustainable eye care infrastructure, the organization has helped increase modern cataract surgeries from 15,000 per year to 150,000 per year over the last decade.
  • Rick Wray from Salt Lake City used his expertise in education and multi-media to start “Spy Hop Productions,” a non-profit center to empower disadvantaged youth through multimedia arts education. The project provides training in digital, video and multimedia technologies, paving the way for future careers in the digital age. The project has grown from a two-person operation to one that now serves over 600 young people annually, with a staff of more than 25 full- and part-time employees.
  • Susan Roylance from South Jordan has devoted more than 28 years of her life to helping people in developing nations. She established United Families International, an organization to support and strengthen families across the world. She also created Community Development Centers in Africa to provide a sustainable, synergistic approach toward empowering distant rural communities. Roylance is also behind Stay Alive HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Program for Children. The program helps educate a new generation on strategies to combat the AIDS epidemic and has reached more than 750,000 children in Africa.


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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Carol Schuler,

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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