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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 9, 2006) – Who would you give a Volvo to? How about Jennifer Arnold, who created a non-profit organization to train and place service dogs for individuals with disabilities? Or Jordan Schwartz, who’s bilingual theater for kids learning Spanish and acting bridges the language gap not only between students, but also communities and cultures? Or Juan Pablo Gnecco, who provides assistance to children negatively affected by violence in Colombia?


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

  • Jennifer Arnold, of Alpharetta, founded Canine Assistants, a non-profit organization dedicated to training service dogs for individuals with disabilities. The organization has placed 366 dogs within 38 states. Many dog recipients have high medical costs and cannot afford to pay for their service dogs. In these cases, Arnold places the dogs free of charge.
  • Juan Pablo Gnecco, of Atlanta, has mobilized prominent Colombian professionals in the Atlanta area to assist children negatively affected by Colombian war violence. He began his work by providing prosthetics and rehabilitation to children who were victims of near-fatal contact with land mines. Over the years, his efforts have widened to include all children in Colombia who are victims of terrorism and violence.
  • Laura Moore, of Lilburn, founded the Dream House, a transitional foster home to provide loving care for medically fragile children (MFC) while recruiting and training foster parents to take care of these children. There are more than 800 MFC in Georgia alone. Due to their increased need for care, many are abandoned or removed from abusive homes and end up in state custody. Lack of training prevents many foster or adoptive families from accepting these children, and as a result, many live in hospitals and financially drain an already overburdened healthcare system. As a nurse, Moore saw a failing system and addressed it head on.
  • At 10 years old, Jordan Schwartz of Marietta, began learning Spanish and participating in community theater. Her love for both inspired her to combine the two and create The Children's Bilingual Theater (CBT). Schwartz’s CBT project provides kids a place to concentrate on their Spanish language skills while learning the artistic expression, teamwork and confidence-building skills unique to the theater experience. With the growing Hispanic community in her region, Schwartz’s bilingual theater outreach serves to bridge the language gap not only between students, but also communities and cultures.
  • Grace Uwinfura, a Rwandan refugee now living in Atlanta, came to the United States in 1996. Her experiences fueled a desire to help women going through similar situations. In 2001, she founded a non-profit organization called Sisters Helping One Another with Resources and Education (SHARE). SHARE teaches refugee and immigrant women skills that will help them become self-sufficient in their new, unfamiliar environment.


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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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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