Oregonian wins National Hometown Hero Award

Kerwood Will Receive $100,000 for the Charity of Her Choice Since 2002, Volvo has contributed nearly $5 million in funding and awards to help real-life heroes continue extraordinary work in their communities IRVINE, Calif.,

Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ — Eight years ago, Lorraine Kerwood turned a passion for tinkering with and repairing electronics into a flourishing passion for helping others. She established an electronics recycling and distribution center, NextStep, which brings refurbished computers and electronics to disadvantaged communities. Volvo today announced that Kerwood, of Eugene, Ore., has been named one of the top three winning heroes in the 6th Annual Volvo for life Awards. Kerwood is being recognized in the program’s Environment category and will receive a $100,000 contribution to the charity of her choice.

Kerwood will receive her award at the Volvo for life Awards Ceremony at New York City’s world famous Cipriani’s 42nd Street on March 19. During the ceremony one overall Grand Award winner will also be named “America’s Greatest Hometown Hero” and will be presented with a new Volvo every three years for the rest of his or her life. “I am thrilled to give the $100,000 charitable donation to NextStep Recycling,” Kerwood said. “We’ve been struggling financially since our inception. The award from Volvo will go a long ways towards stabilizing our financial situation, and we are very, very grateful.” More about Lorraine Kerwood According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States generated 2.6 millions tons of electronic waste in 2005, only 12.6 percent of which was recycled. Kerwood, 47, has set out to improve this statistic. Her computer recycling and distribution center, NextStep, brings refurbished computers to disadvantaged communities and benefits the environment by reducing electronic waste. While attending the University of Oregon, Kerwood taught herself how to rebuild computers, which she then gave to people who couldn’t afford them. With her new skill set, and her passion for helping the disadvantaged, Kerwood established NextStep. The organization has recycled more than 800 tons of electronic waste and placed 11,000 computers in disadvantaged communities in the United States and abroad. More than 500 computers have been shipped to rural Guatemalan schools, orphanages and non-governmental organizations. This has drawn the attention of corporate, government and academic institutions. Tulane University studied NextStep’s computer labs built in partnership with rural Mayan communities. They determined that the labs improved the lives of more than 5,000 Guatemalan children.

The American public selected Kerwood and eight other finalists, three in each category of Safety, Quality of Life and Environment. A distinguished panel of judges — including Hank Aaron, Sen. Bill Bradley, Maya Lin, Dr. Sally Ride, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Dr. Mae Jemison and Edsel B. Ford II — then selected Kerwood and two other category winners, who are: Safety Marilyn Adams, Earlham, Iowa In 1987, Marilyn Adams, 57, founded Farm Safety 4 Just Kids and set out on a mission to promote safe farm environments and eliminate farm-related child health hazards, injuries and fatalities. Farm Safety 4 Just Kids now has 137 chapters throughout North America. Through her visits to rural schools, media appearances, testimony before government agencies and in Congress, Adams has spread her farm safety message across the country. Quality of Life Matthew Sanford, Orono, Minn. Matthew Sanford, 42, was involved in a car crash that took the lives of his father and sister, and left him paralyzed from the chest down. Now, he is a nationally recognized yoga teacher, author and renowned expert in mind-body integration who has inspired and enhanced the lives of thousands. In 2001, Sanford founded Mind Body Solutions, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the simple and practical notion that minds and bodies work better together, offering programs in the workplace, in corporations, at the yoga studio and in the community at large.

The Volvo for life Awards (http://www.volvoforlifeawards.com), launched in 2002, is the largest-ever national search for and celebration of everyday heroes in the categories of Safety, Quality of Life and Environment. Volvo Cars of North America provides $1 million in awards and contributions in honor of heroes. Since the inception of the program, Volvo has contributed more than $5 million to help hometown heroes continue their extraordinary work in their communities. Alexandra Scott Butterfly Award Winner Unveiled In addition to the three category winners, Volvo also named 10-year-old Zach Bonner, of Valrico, Fla., the winner of the Alexandra Scott Butterfly Award.

The award was created by Volvo Cars of North America to honor young heroes who do the extraordinary in the areas of Safety, Quality of Life and Environment in the name of Alexandra Scott, a Volvo for life Awards winner from Wynnewood, Pa., who passed away at age eight from cancer. She raised more than $1 million for pediatric cancer research through lemonade sales and other fundraising activities. Parents Jay and Elizabeth Scott continue promoting Alex’s cause and raising money for pediatric cancer research through their foundation, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Bonner, who will receive a $25,000 charitable donation, founded the Little Red Wagon Foundation, Inc., an organization that collects and donates backpacks filled with food and school items to disadvantaged children nationwide. In late 2007, Bonner completed a marathon walk from Tampa to Tallahassee, Fla. covering – 280 miles over 23 days, raising money and awareness for homeless children along the way.
SOURCE Volvo Cars of North America

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