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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 9, 2007) –– Who would you give a Volvo to? How about David Bland who founded a company to provide affordable housing to people living on Montana reservations? Or Greg Mortenson who established an institute to open schools for underprivileged children in Pakistan and Afghanistan? Or Harold Stanton who created a non-profit organization to preserve the land where the Battle of the Little Big Horn took place?


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

  • David Bland of Red Lodge took his experience developing low-income housing and applied it to tribal reservations by founding Travois, a company that assists tribes in applying for housing credits and partnering with investors. Bland was the first person to use the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to build reservation housing. Before Bland began his work, people were hesitant to use the program due to the tribal sovereignty complexities and banks’ hesitation to lend money on reservations. Bland’s organization has created more than $158 million in housing equity, resulting in more than 1,000 homes for poor families.
  • Michael Erickson of Billings created Computer4Kids, an organization that collects and donates computers to children throughout Montana. Erickson works countless hours to fix, upgrade and donate free computers to children, private schools and people who would not be able to purchase or have access to computers without his help.
  • Greg Mortenson of Bozemon, established the Central Asia Institute to develop schools for girls in remote Asian mountain villages. Tens of thousands of eager children in Pakistan and Afghanistan now receive an education where no schools previously existed. Mortenson has established 55 schools, which support over 24,000 students, including 14,000 girls. In the United States he founded Pennies For Peace (P4P), which encourages American schoolchildren to support education in the developing world. P4P has collected more than six million pennies from 600 schools in all fifty states.
  • Roy Pritchett of Belt volunteers thirty hours a week at the Cascade County Regional Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention center, in Great Falls. Nearly 600 delinquent youth arrested, out of school and addicted to drugs and alcohol pass through the center each year. Pritchett mentors the troubled youth and serves as a positive adult role model for the struggling kids.
  • Harold Stanton of Hardin founded a non-profit organization to preserve and protect one of the most recognized historical sites in the world, the battlefield where the Battle of the Little Big Horn took place. Under Stanton’s guidance, the committee raised nearly $6 million for the cause. As a result, the land where the battle took place was preserved and gifted to the United States for all to enjoy and learn about a historical American moment.


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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