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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. (January 2, 2007) –– Who would you give a Volvo to? How about Kristal DeRuise of Reno who made ladybugs out of rocks to raise money for lupus? Or John LaFountaine of Reno who dedicates himself to helping the Lakota people preserve their language and traditions? Or Jeffrey Lambin of Gardnerville who helps educate youth about substance abuse?


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

  • At age nine, when her best friend’s mom was diagnosed with lupus, Kristal DeRuise of Reno knew immediately that she wanted to do something to help. DeRuise decided to collect round rocks and paint them to look like ladybugs. She sold the ladybugs through a local store and her mom’s workplace and within three months, the first 500 rocks sold out. Now, seven years later, Lucky Ladybugs for Lupus has raised more than $35,000 for the National Lupus Foundation of America.
  • Maureen Hart of Las Vegas runs Victims in Action, an organization that helps victims of non-violent crimes such as car theft and burglary. Hart visits victims in their homes to help them get back on their feet.
  • John LaFountaine of Reno spent 17 years studying with the Lakota, sharing their home, food and traditions – and witnessing their poverty and ensuing social problems up close. LaFountaine now dedicates his time and money to helping the Lakota people preserve their language and traditions of discipline, honor respect and generosity – keys which LaFountaine believes will empower them to liberate themselves from the confines of poverty and alienation. His efforts include Spirit Walk 2003, a 1700-mile trek to raise funds and awareness for the Native American tribal nation.
  • At a young age, Jeffrey Lambin of Gardnerville created Kids Karts, a company providing portable centers filled with books, puzzles and crafts for hospitalized kids. Lambin has distributed Kids Karts to hospitals throughout Nevada as well as in California, Utah, Illinois, Georgia and Wisconsin. Lambin’s latest project is SOAR, Above and Beyond, a project that produces and distributes public service announcements featuring youth sharing personal stories about substance abuse, warning against the dangers and providing resources for support.
  • Stephanie Pierce of Pahrump established Miracle Horse Rescue to preserve and care for abused, neglected and unwanted domesticated horses. Pierce and her volunteer staff have worked tirelessly to rehabilitate 127 horses and find them loving new owners. She also conducts classes to educate the public about responsible horse ownership, focusing on children to teach compassion and care for animals at an early age.


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 A Spanish version of the site can also be accessed at this address.


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Erin Fifield

Haberman & Associates



Sören Johansson

Volvo Cars of North America



Media:For photos and more information on the Volvo for life Awards visit

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