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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 3, 2007) –– Who would you give a Volvo to? How about Kenneth Barnes, who, after his son was murdered, created an organization to help families victimized by homicide? Or Dr. Ludy Green, who’s non-profit works to help victims of domestic violence find meaningful employment? Or Pierre St. Hilaire, who raises funds to help Rwandan rape and genocide victims?


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

  • While Kenneth Barnes was working towards his doctoral degree at Loyola College in Maryland, his son was murdered. The grief Barnes experienced motivated him to address the needs of victims of violent crimes and end urban violence, particularly among young African-American men. Barnes founded Reaching Out to Others Together (ROOT), which unites a broad spectrum of the community for advocacy, education and intervention on behalf of individuals and families victimized by homicide. The program also addresses issues that foster a culture of violence in many inner-city communities.
  • At the age of 20, Fadi Elsalameen created Voice of Arab Youth, a non-profit organization dedicated to training fifty young adults, ages 18-25, from all over the Arab world. Projects, applicable to life in Arab nations, are created in the fields of micro-enterprise, small businesses and fundraising, managing local organizations, protecting the environment, mapping community resources and expanding health services. In addition, he is creating the West Bank Institute for Peace and developing a university curriculum that, for the first time, will allow students to obtain a B.A. in Peace Studies at Hebron University in the West Bank.
  • While numerous non-profit and government organizations specializing in health, legal and psychological counseling exist to help victims of domestic violence, few organizations exist to help these women find meaningful employment with full benefits for their children. To address this crucial problem, Dr. Ludy Green founded Second Chance Employment Services. Lack of an income, career opportunities and accesses to health care often dissuades women from leaving abusive relationships. Second Chance Employment Services provides the means to independence, dignity and safety to abused women by providing access to the job market. Green’s organization has placed 320 women in meaningful careers and served more than 700 others by providing funds for surgeries, dentistry, childcare, housing and transportation.
  • In 1992 Ella McCall-Haygan created non-profit organization, From Streets to Skills Social Services, Inc. McCall-Haygan and her team of volunteer licensed clinical social workers provide numerous services for homeless families, the mentally ill, abused children, single mothers, survivors of domestic violence and seniors raising grandchildren. Services include home and school visits; therapy and counseling; family planning; mentoring; drug counseling; HIV/AIDS education; financial emergency assistance; referrals to job training education and entrepreneurial and arts education.
  • In 1994, Rwanda experienced genocide which killed more than 800,000 people. Pierre St. Hilaire wanted to help. In 2002, he contacted Pharmacists Without Borders, which pledged to donate medication and supplies if St. Hilaire would pay shipping costs. Months later, he sent more than 2,000 pounds of medication to Rwanda to benefit HIV/AIDS genocide rape survivors. He also raised travel expense money for Gynecologists Without Borders, an organization that sent three doctors to Rwanda to perform surgeries and provide specialized training to doctors. In an effort to empower a generation of genocide survivors for the future, St. Hilaire also sponsors the education of six Rwandan children.


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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Kim McMartin

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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