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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 25, 2006) – Who would you give a Volvo to? How about Michael Clair, who created a college for troubled kids to study music and film? Or Kayleigh Jack, an accomplished violinist who frequently performs free of charge for Boise area assisted-living homes? Or Michael Whitfield, who helped found The Teton Regional Land Trust, which works to conserve open and agricultural lands?


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

  • Michael Clair of Gooding, created Western States College for kids on probation and facing poverty. The music and film school attracts artists from the local entertainment business to teach and encourage troubled kids to change their lives for the better. Clair often pays for students’ tuition out of his own pocket. He also organizes concerts for students to earn money for classes and workshops.
  • Myron Finkbeiner of Nampa created the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, which honors special athletes who go beyond the game to have a positive, long-lasting impact on society. Inductees include such outstanding athlete-citizens as Arthur Ashe, Roberto Clemente, Julius Erving and Bonnie Blair. A much sought-after speaker, Finkbeiner seeks to teach kids to understand the importance of becoming good role models––and giving back to their community.
  • Dale Ford of Salmon provides his community with a multitude of important volunteer services. For ten years he has volunteered as a fireman with the Salmon Volunteer Fire Department and Search and Rescue unit. Additionally, he provides his lighting, sound, graphics and visual equipment, as well as his production services free of charge, to the Salmon Arts Council, Salmon Drama Program, Lemhi County 4-H program, local churches and the school district.
  • Kayleigh Jack, an accomplished violinist, uses her talents to help others learn the value of, and enjoy, music. A resident of Eagle, she is a longtime performer for many Boise area assisted-living and veterans homes. She also founded Strings of Wheels, a youth strings ensemble that performs free of charge for others. A longtime supporter and coach for the Special Olympics, Jack composed an inspirational theme for her area Special Olympics event.
  • Michael Whitfield of Driggs, helped found The Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT). The organization works to conserve fast-disappearing open and agricultural lands and strengthens the social fabric of the region. TRLT operates in a region where, historically, the primary economy is agriculture. Recently, due to economic pressures, many farmers and ranchers have sold their land. As a result, rural communities struggle to maintain their cultural values and social cohesion. TRLT offers a different path for landowners hoping to preserve their lands, by helping them use legal tools that provide tax benefits for conservation. Under Whitfield’s direction, TRLT has been able to conserve more than 14,000 acres.


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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