Introduced in December 2002 by Volvo Cars of North America (VNCA), the Volvo for life Awards (VFLA) became the largest-ever national search for and celebration of everyday heroes. Since 2002, VCNA received more than 10,000 nominations from all 50 states, provided more than $1 million in awards and contributions in honor of heroes, and more than $5 million to help hometown heroes continue their extraordinary work in their communities.
Throughout the summer, we have re-told these six heroes’ amazing stories of inspiration and filled you in on what they’ve been up to since Volvo named them America’s Greatest Hometown Heroes. Here is the sixth and final Volvo for life Award winner’s story.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this series, and to celebrate the final post we’re holding a giveaway. To win a copy of Marilyn Adams’ book, “Rhythm of the Seasons…A Journey Beyond Loss” (http://www.amazon.com/Rhythm-Seasons-Journey-Beyond-Loss/dp/1882835387) just enter a comment on this story below. All comments will be entered into a random drawing, held on or around August 14, 2012, to win her book.
In 2008, Marilyn Adams, Earlham, Iowa resident and founder of Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, was named America’s Greatest Hometown Hero and grand prize award winner in the 6th Annual Volvo for life Awards. In recognition of her extraordinary work protecting children, Adams was awarded $100,000 for her charity and a new Volvo every three years for life.
More than 25 years ago, Adams tragically lost her son in a farm equipment accident. The death inspired her to become a safety hero to thousands of children through Farm Safety 4 Just Kids (FS4JK), which she founded to educate kids and their families nationwide about farm safety and health. Through her visits to rural schools, media appearances and testimony before government agencies and Congress, Adams has spread her farm safety message across the country.
“I personally want to thank Volvo for honoring me with the highest award in the Volvo for Life safety category in 2008,” said Adams. “I am proud to have received this lifetime award on behalf of Farm Safety 4 Just Kids in loving memory of my son, Keith. Thank you, and God Bless all of America’s Heroes.”
Adams, 61, recently announced her plans to retire from FS4JK on June 1, 2012, during the organization’s 25th anniversary year. She will remain on the board of directors and continue to fulfill speaking engagements.
“Since receiving the grand prize, Volvo has helped us spread our farm safety message to countless rural families and to save an untold number of children from farm tragedies,” said Adams. “We couldn’t be more grateful. The $100,000 donation helped us expand our educational programs and establish an endowment fund for the organization’s future.”
In 2008, Adams chose a pearl white Volvo XC90, and named her car “Pearl,” fitting for the color of the car and in honor of a woman named Pearl who Adams worked with when she received her award. Since then, she has fallen in love with her XC90, taking it on countless road trips, and when her 3-year lease ended, she purchased it.
Her favorite trip in “Pearl” was driving it cross-country to South Carolina for her son-in-law’s National Guard graduation. Peyton, her granddaughter, who was 6-months-old at the time, and her mommy, were along for the ride and excited about the built-in DVD player and all the toys the car could hold. “Everyone in my family has taken the car out for a test drive and they all love it!” exclaimed Adams.
In 2011, Adams picked up her new, red 2012 Volvo S60 T6 she named “Ruby.” Adams chose Volvo’s luxury sports sedan because she thought it would be fun to drive during her retirement. In fact, her 89-year-old mother has already asked her, “Why haven’t you taken your mother out for a test drive in your new red, hot rod yet?”
During her retirement, Adams plans to spend more time with her grandkids, garden, travel and continue to farm. She also plans to sew and quilt landscape art of both of her white and red Volvos.
More About Marilyn Adams and Farm Safety 4 Just Kids
In 1986, Adams faced every mother’s greatest fear. Her 11-year-old son, Keith, suffocated in a gravity flow wagon while helping with the first full day of harvest on the family’s farm in Iowa. Determined to find a constructive outlet for her grief, she was inspired to create a nonprofit organization working to educate children and their families about farm safety and health.
A year later, in 1987, Adams founded Farm Safety 4 Just Kids (FS4JK) and set out on a mission to promote safe farm environments and eliminate farm-related child health hazards, injuries and fatalities. A report by the National Safety Council found that children between the ages of 5 and 14 were 66 percent more likely to be injured in a farm accident than adults aged 45 to 64.
2012 marks the 25th anniversary of FS4JK. Since it was created, the organization has promoted farm safety to more than 6 million people through local programs and education. Today the organization has established a network of more than 120 local chapters across the United States and Canada that offer farm safety presentations on a local level. Outreach coordinators each cover nine different states, and over the past 25 years, 35,600 volunteers have donated more than 280,000 hours of their time.
FS4JK focuses on prevention through education. The organization has created a spectrum of nearly 100 educational resources on a variety of farm safety related topics. All resources are available to the public via an online catalog.
Farm Safety 4 Just Kids’ contribution to the farm safety movement has helped to reduce the number of agriculture-related fatalities among children. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, from 1998 to 2009 the rate of all farm youth injuries has decreased by 59 percent. Farm Safety 4 Just Kids was specifically mentioned as a contributing factor to the decline.
FS4JK is funded by corporate sponsors and individual donors. Current projects include overhauling the existing all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety packet. In addition, FS4JK is working with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health to research how safety needs are impacted in the changing demographics of agriculture as small, part-time farms are on the rise.
To win a copy of Marilyn Adams’ book, “Rhythm of the Seasons…A Journey Beyond Loss” (http://www.amazon.com/Rhythm-Seasons-Journey-Beyond-Loss/dp/1882835387) please comment on this blog post below. All comments will be entered into a random drawing, held on or around August 14, 2012, to win her book.