National vote underway for all-time greatest heroes – five per state – in 5th Anniversary Volvo for life Awards
Vote for top heroes at www.volvoforlifeawards.com; $1 million in financial contributions provided; winner receives Volvo car for life
IRVINE, Calif. (November XX, 2006) –– Who would you give a Volvo to? How about Sandra Clarke who created No One Dies Alone, a volunteer program that partners “compassionate companions” with terminally ill patients? Or Matt Gerber who founded humanitarian aid organization, TeamWorks International, to “help others help themselves?” Or Paula Lucas who formed the American Domestic Violence Crises Line to help American women and children overseas suffering from abuse?
These are just three of the five extraordinary Oregon 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 www.volvoforlifeawards.com to vote for their favorites now through February 4, 2007.
Who in Oregon would you give a Volvo to? Representing Oregon in this year’s Volvo for life Awards are:
Nursing supervisor Sandra Clarke of Eugene told a dying man that she would sit with him after she completed her rounds during one of her shifts at Sacred Heart Medical Center. When she returned just over an hour later the man had died, alone. This sad experience moved Clarke to create No One Dies Alone (NODA), a volunteer program that partners “compassionate companions” with terminally ill patients who would otherwise face death without the support of family and friends. More than 400 hospitals in the United States, Canada, Japan and Singapore have requested information to help implement NODA in their institutions.
Matt Gerber of Milwaukie founded humanitarian aid organization TeamWorks International to “help others help themselves.” TeamWorks identifies people in communities already engaged in work to improve their society and connects them with the resources they need. Gerber manages the organization’s staff and projects around the world, from funding orphanages to the support of locally created, locally directed community projects.
Paula Lucas of Portland formed the American Domestic Violence Crises Line to help American women and children overseas suffering from abuse. Lucas worked nights to support her sons and days to build up the organization after fleeing the Middle East to escape from her abusive husband. Now, the American Domestic Violence Crises Line provides extensive support services and programs to help women establish violence-free and economically feasible lives when they return to the United States with their children
Jody Stark, a nurse practitioner from Ontario, devotes her time and money to others at home and abroad. At home, she runs a free medical clinic that provides care, treatment and medications to uninsured patients. Abroad, Stark raises funds for Nicaraguan rural populations, helping support an agricultural training center and a school for street children in Somotillo.
Chant Thomas of Jacksonville is a life-long environmental activist and lives in the forests of Southern Oregon that he helped save. In 1979, Chant started Threatened and Endangered Little Applegate Valley, (TELAV), a small grassroots organization that was successful in stopping timber sales that would have permanently degraded the Little Applegate watershed. Thomas also helped found Headwaters, the group that waged a legal battle against herbicide spraying that went all the way to the Supreme Court and won. Today Thomas mentors young activists, works to save the last of the roadless areas locally and educates communities on how they can effect change.
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.
Volvo and members of the celebrity-judging panel will honor the winning heroes on April 5, 2007 at the 42nd St. Cipriani during the 5th Annual Volvo for life Awards Ceremony. There, 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 www.volvoforlifeawards.com. A Spanish version of the site can also be accessed at this address.
Haberman & Associates
Volvo Cars of North America
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