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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 31, 2006) – Who would you give a Volvo to? How about Chicago’s Dr. Gary Slutkin, a specialist in internal medicine and infectious disease control who helped bring violence to a forty year low in Chicago neighborhoods? Or Lombard’s Alison Bock, who started an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the global landmine crisis? Or Wheaton’s 13-year-old Kendall Ciesemier, who works to raise money to help AIDS orphans in Africa?


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

  • Alison Bock, of Lombard, founded a grassroots, non-governmental organization in 2003 named Landmines Blow. The group is dedicated to engaging American youth and engaging them about what they can do to help limit or even ban the use of landmines. Bock, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2005, works a full time job and spends her remaining time with her volunteer-driven organization.
  • Janice Boykin, of Chicago, put her own personal desires and needs on hold to improve the lives of single families and young children. In 2001, Boykin began her journey to help lessen child abuse and neglect by opening a 24 hour childcare center called Tic Tock Around the Clock Child Care Providers for teen, single and young parents.
  • Kendall Ciesemier, of Wheaton, is only 13-years-old, but already she has accomplished more than most adults. In between having two liver transplants, Ciesemier developed Kids Caring 4 Kids, an organization devoted to raising money to help AIDS orphans in Africa. To date, Ciesemier and her supporters have raised approximately $50,000 through garage sales, lemonade stands, bake sales and outright donations for Kids Caring 4 Kids.
  • Daniel Jamie, of Berwyn, works with at-risk teenagers. Jamie, who’s a former gang member, works 40 plus hours each week with local teens. His ultimate goal is to make each and every teen he works with feel loved so that they will love others.
  • Dr. Gary Slutkin, of Chicago, founded “CeaseFire,” an organization that works to predict where gang-related violence will most likely occur in neighborhoods, and who is most at-risk. He then dispatches a team of highly skilled, and paid, counselors (including many former gang members) to prevent violence often moments before it occurs. Their mission: identify people having violent thoughts then counsel them out of their anger. And, when a shooting occurs, he has a team of local individuals to respond to the violence. This door-to-door, street-by-street violence prevention program has helped create a 50 to 75 percent drop in shootings in some neighborhoods over five years, and it’s soon to be rolled out in other cities nationwide.


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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