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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. (December 20, 2006) –– Here’s a gift idea that won’t cost you a penny. Five extraordinary Maine heroes have been named as semi-finalists in the 5th Anniversary Volvo for life Awards – Volvo’s annual search for hometown heroes across America. And they need your vote.


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. A grand prizewinner will receive $50,000 and a Volvo for life.


So, who in Maine would you give a Volvo to? Representing Maine in this year’s Volvo for life Awards are:

  • Patty Carton from Brunswick started a therapeutic horse riding initiative, Riding to the Top, for people with physical, emotional and learning disabilities. Now more than ten years old, the program serves almost 250 clients from more than 45 towns throughout Maine, providing them with a nurturing farm environment where they can take time to heal with horses, caring instructors and volunteers.
  • At age 11, Kelly Davis from Bath founded Maine Vest-a-Dog, an organization dedicated to protecting Maine police dogs by providing bulletproof vests. Davis even helped change state law to allow citizens to raise money for the police. In the past six years, Davis has raised more than $40,000 and provided vests to 54 dogs.
  • A devastating car accident that cost Steve Loignon from Shapleigh both his legs, spurred him on to create Stepping Back into Life, Inc., an initiative that offers encouragement and resources such as support groups, education and retraining, scholarships, sponsorships and insurance information, to recently physically disabled people. His mission is to help the recently disabled find the inspiration, knowledge and resources to “Step Back into Life” with more enthusiasm than ever.
  • Cathy Plourde from Topsham writes plays about, and for, youth to help them understand and seek help for such common issues as eating disorders, sexual assault and dating violence. Plourde uses creative expression to bring about dialogue, action and political and personal change. Through her production company, Add Verb Productions, Plourde’s plays, including “The Thin Line” and “You the Man”, have reached more than 100,000 people in 32 states.
  • Timothy Wilson from Portland created Seeds of Peace at the International Camp in Maine to provide recent refugee immigrants from regions of conflict with guidance, encouragement and an opportunity to overcome their traumatic histories to have real hope for the future. The program has helped more than 200 students, empowering them to become better students and citizens with an understanding of reconciliation, coexistence and community.


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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Peggy Bell

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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